If you’ve been following the story about the detective that aggressively arrested a nurse in Utah, Alex Wubbels, then you probably know that there have been a lot of developments since that unfortunate day back in late July. Not only has the detective, Jeff Payne, been suspended from the blood draw unit with the Salt Lake City Police Department, but he’s also being investigated by state authorities and was fired from his second job as a paramedic with Gold Cross Ambulance. Now, it looks like the FBI is stepping in to examine whether or not Payne violated any federal laws when he assaulted and arrested Wubbels.
According to Sandra Yi Barker, “a spokeswoman at the FBI’s Salt Lake City field office,” FBI agents decided to “open a review of the matter” after videos of the incident surfaced, and their assistance was actually requested by other state authorities, including Salt Lake County District Attorney Sam Gill. Gill’s office is officially investigating the incident, and he “requested the FBI’s help because “there continue to be issues that go beyond merely a criminal investigation.”
When referring to state authorities and other law enforcement personnel, Barker said, “We are there to support and assist them as needed, but we also have our own review going on at the same time.” Specifically, her team plans on conducting a ‘color of the law’ review, “which examines whether law enforcement officials exceeded their authority,” and is actually just a preliminary step that could lead to a formal investigation being launched. Examples of ‘color of the law’ violations include “false arrest and the use of excessive force by police,” two things that Payne did in the camera footage.
For those who don’t know, video footage from a police officer’s body camera “showed Payne handcuffing Wubbels and arresting her after she refused to draw blood from a comatose truck driver who had just been brought in, because Payne had neither a warrant nor the patient’s consent.” The driver, William Gray, was driving a truck when his vehicle was struck by another vehicle “driven by someone fleeing police.” Gray was never a suspect, and was actually a reserve officer for the Rigby Police Department in Idaho.
In addition to the investigations, the mayor of Salt Lake City, along with the police chief, has issued official apologies on behalf of Payne. As for Wubbels, well, for now she isn’t planning on filing a lawsuit and is hopeful that the appropriate steps will be taken to ensure what happened to her won’t happen to anyone else.