According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the police officer who was seen on a viral video arresting the nurse who refused to draw blood without a warrant from an unconscious patient is under criminal investigation now.
On Friday, Sim Gill, a Salt Lake County District Attorney, put under investigation the case of Detective Jeff Payne who violently attacked and arrested the nurse Alex Wubbles on July 26 because she refused to obey him and draw blood from an acutely injured and unconscious patient.
The Associated Press reported that Jeff Payne is on administrative leave. However, the police department of Salt Lake City announced that two of their employees has been put on administrative leave on Friday, so it is not very clear if Payne is among them.
UPDATE: Two employees are on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation. https://t.co/0DlNi5p3OS
— SLC Police Dept. (@slcpd) September 2, 2017
In the video of the incident it is clear that Alex Wubbles, the head nurse of the burn unit in the University of Utah’s hospital, is calm the whole time while trying to explain to the police officer why she is not allowed to draw blood from the unconscious patient.
The before-mentioned detective keeps on insisting her to draw the blood, but she explains to him that she is only allowed to do that under 3 circumstances: if the patient has an electronic warrant (which he has not), if the patient is under arrest (which he has not been), and, finally, if the patient is consent (which he was not because he was unconscious).
Because none of these requirements were fulfilled, she explains calmly to him that she cannot do what he asks her to do. He then places handcuffs on her hands and arrests her.
When the video the incident went public, it caused serious criticism on Payne’s action. The City Major of Salt Lake Jackie Biskupski together with Police Chief Mike Brown apologized publicly for Payne’s assault and said that the whole case will be further investigated.
“I was alarmed by what I saw in the video with our officer and Wubbels. I am sad at the rift this has caused between law-enforcement and the nurses we work so closely with. I want to be clear, we take this very seriously,” said Brown in a joint statement.
After the incident, the nurse was released immediately without any charges upon her because the rules from 2016 Supreme Court prohibit obtaining a blood alcohol test without having warrant.
In a report by the Tribune, Payne said that he did that because Wubbles has interfered with his police investigation. Moreover, he said that he wanted the blood sample in order to protect the patient.
After the video went viral, the National Nurses United, denounced publicly Payne and the police department of Salt Lake City. Presently, they are funding a campaign against violence at the workplace.
“As the videos and news accounts make clear, there is no excuse for this assault, or her arrest, which sends a chilling message about the safety of nurses and the rights of patients”, stated the organization’s co-president, Jean Ross.
After the video was released on Friday, the Tribune reported that District Attorney Jill gave Brown instructions to search for an outside agency to investigate the case. Later that day, from the chief’s office announced that the United Police Department would be investigating the case.
According to Utah’s ABC 4 News, Wubbles have decided to forgive him after the apologies from the Major Biskupski and the Police Chief Brown.
Furthermore, the New York Post reports that the University of Utah’s hospital stands by the nurse’s decision to not draw blood from the patient.
Finally, a spokesman from the police said that they updated their blood drawing policy recently and aligned it with the policy of the hospital. In addition to this, the police officers have received training on the subject.