Utah policeman fired for manhandling nurse who refused to allow blood draw

Utah policeman fired for manhandling nurse who refused to allow blood draw

Nurse Alex Wubbels is shown during an incident at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, US, in this still photo taken from police body-worn camera video taken Jul 26, 2017 and provided Sep 1, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: The Utah police officer who violently handcuffed and dragged a screaming nurse out of the hospital was on Tuesday (Oct 10) fired from his job. 

Detective Jeff Payne had violated department policies, said a spokesman from the Salt Lake City Police Department. 

"I have lost faith in your ability to continue to serve," police chief Mike Brown wrote in the termination letter.

In the Jul 25 incident, officers wanted to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient to test for alcohol or drugs. The patient, a truck driver, had been involved in an accident. 

But the officers were stopped by nurse Alex Wubbels who explained that they could not get a sample without a warrant or consent from the patient. 

Detective Payne appeared angered and grabbed at Wubbels before gripping her around her torso. He then dragged her outside as she screamed, pushed her against a wall and handcuffed her.

The incident was captured on Payne's body camera.

In a disciplinary letter, the police chief said he was "deeply troubled" by the detective's conduct and described the behaviour as "inappropriate, unreasonable, unwarranted, discourteous, disrespectful". 

He added that the incident brought "significant disrepute" on the department. 

"You demonstrated extremely poor professional judgment (especially for an officer with 27 years of experience), which calls into question your ability to effectively serve the public and the department," said the police chief.

According to ABC News, Payne's supervisor, Lieutenant James Tracy, has been demoted.

The police chief said the supervisor, who later responded at the scene, had given Payne the order to arrest the nurse "without first taking time to understand the facts of the situation and the law."

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