After footage of a nurse being forcibly arrested for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient went viral on social media, Jeff Payne, the officer who arrested the nurse, is under investigation. On Friday, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski revealed that Payne would be placed on paid administrative leave while the county district attorney proceeds with the criminal investigation. A second unidentified employee has been placed on leave as well.
Police Chief Mike Brown said Friday that the department would cooperate with the investigation. "This is an ever evolving situation, and we will do what is necessary to fully investigate the issue, uphold the integrity of the Salt Lake City Police Department, and strengthen the trust with our community," he said in a statement.
Payne and the other officials involved will be defended by the Salt Lake Police Association. "The Salt Lake Police Association is representing the involved officers during the internal investigation to ensure their rights are protected and that the investigation is fair," said a statement sent to Fox 13 by the Association. "We will not be commenting further at this time."
Payne arrested nurse Alex Wubbels on July 26 after refusing to obey his commands that she draw blood from Idaho police officer William Grey, who'd been in a severe car accident. Wubbels informed Payne that either a patient's consent or a warrant is required for drawing blood. Payne then informed the nurse she was under arrest and proceeded to physically remove her from the hospital as she screamed.
The Rigby Police Department of Idaho thanked Wubbels for "standing firm and protecting Officer Gray’s rights as a patient and victim. Protecting the rights of others is truly a heroic act."
Both the Salt Lake City mayor and police chief have apologized to Wubbels for the incident. Wubbels responded to the apologies on Friday by releasing a statement.
This morning, I received a call from the Mayor of Salt Lake City and the Chief of Police. They both offered me personal apologies, which I felt were sincere. I have accepted those apologies, and I look forward to working with both of them to help promote further civil dialogue and education. The common goal of all public service professionals should be to provide the best care to our fellow citizens.
However, Wubbels pointed out to NBC News that neither Payne nor his supervisor have apologized for the arrest and the "disgrace they put upon themselves."