Back in July, nurse Alex Wubbels was arrested by a Salt Lake City police officer after refusing to allow the officer to draw blood from a patient who was unconscious. Detective Jeff Payne insisted that Wubbels allow him to take the blood regardless of the fact that hospitals have very stringent protocols they have to follow to ensure they comply with state and federal laws. At the same time, they are legally required to protect the best interest of the patients who are being treated there.

Hospital staff, including doctors, surgeons, and nurses, all have to abide by the laws set forth and the specific protocol they agree to follow otherwise they risk losing their job, or worse, their license to practice.  After Detective Payne came in demanding that blood be drawn from an unconscious individual, Wubbels calmly explained that she couldn’t do that unless she had one of the two:


  1. A statement from the patient giving consent to take blood.
  2. A warrant that granted her permission to do so.


Wubbels, obviously aware of the laws she was required to abide by, stood her ground even though Detective Payne remained persistent. But, when Payne became aggressive and began abusing his right to apply force, things got a bit out of control. Video footage surfaced of the incident from a police body cam that was recording and people became outraged when they saw how this detective was treating this nurse who was simply doing her job. And because she didn’t comply with Payne’s demands, he arrested her.

Apparently, Detective Jeff Payne felt as though he held power that superseded the law and felt that his badge permitted him to do whatever it is he felt was necessary. Sadly, that is one of the many reasons why police brutality cases develop. Officers are under the impression that because they are allowed to apply force that they can do it how they please.


What consequences did Detective Payne face for wrongfully arresting a Utah nurse?


Unlike most police brutality cases, Detective Payne did face some consequences for this wrongful arrest according to NPR. In the majority of police brutality and mistreatment cases that arise, most of the officers involved walk away from incidents without any justice being served. From wrongful deaths to the violation of human rights, these individuals break the laws themselves and then are permitted to get back on the force once the investigation of the incident has concluded. Why does this happen? It is difficult to prove that an officer, who can pull out his or her weapon and use it when he or she deems necessary, actually committed a crime.

Thankfully, for nurse Wubbels, Detective Payne, who had nearly 27 years of law enforcement experience, was fired and relieved of his duties. Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown decided to fire him because he “demonstrated poor professional judgment, which calls into question his ability to effectively serve the public and the department.”


Police Brutality Is a Real Issue


Police brutality, no matter how minor the act might appear to be, is a crime that is punishable under state law. Unfortunately, those who are mistreated by officers of the law aren’t aware of their rights and the legal actions they can take to combat this abuse which only allows these officers to walk away, free from punishment.

If you are the victim of police brutality or mistreatment and you need to speak with a legal representative, can connect you with a local police brutality attorney in your city now.