Nurse Receives Settlement From City and University For Officer’s Actions
Utah nurse, Alex Wubbels, is set to receive $500,000 in a settlement with Salt Lake City and the University of Utah following a July 26 incident in which a police officer had her arrested for refusing to allow a patient blood draw. The officer who arrested Wubbels, Det. Jeff Payne, sought the draw from a trucker injured in a crash involving another man who fled from police. Payne’s attorney had stated his client wanted to protect the trucker, who was left unconscious after the incident, from losing his license. Therefore, the officer’s actions were warranted. However, he did not actually have a warrant.
At the beginning of the video, Wubbels is shown reading to Payne the hospital’s policy regarding not allowing blood to be drawn without a warrant or the patient’s consent unless the patient is under arrest for a crime. Following the officer’s request, she specifically points out that the driver was not under arrest and was unable to give her the needed permission. “This is something you guys agreed to with this hospital,” she explains as she reviews the terms.
The video then shows Payne lunging toward the nurse and forcing her toward his squad car as she yells for him to stop assaulting her. “I’ve done nothing wrong,” Wubbles says as she’s being handcuffed. Other staff members try to talk Payne into calming down as he is assisted by another officer. Payne then makes Wubbles sit in his vehicle for approximately twenty minutes before she is eventually released. Charges were never filed against the nurse.
The truck driver ended up passing away as a result of his injuries, Payne was terminated from the force for his actions, and his supervisor was demoted from his position. After the footage was released by Wubbles and her attorney, it created a huge public outcry, providing context for a broader discussion on social media regarding the inappropriate use of force by officers.
Wubbels, who is thankful for being able to share the officer’s body camera footage, plans to donate a portion of the settlement money to help individuals obtain documented video footage of such incidents from body cameras. Karra Porter, the woman’s attorney, and her law firm Christensen & Jensen have indicated they will provide free legal advice for these types of cases. Wubbels also plans to donate to the Utah Nurses Association and help lead the #EndNurseAbuse campaign.
“We all deserve to know the truth and the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage and that’s what happened in my case,” Wubbels stated at a press conference following the settlement. “No matter how truthful I was in telling my story, it was nothing compared to what people saw and the visceral reaction people experienced when watching the footage of the experience that I went through.”
She added, “The police have to police themselves. This is something I never would have expected to happen, but I’m also honored by the weight of it.”
Salt Lake City and the University of Utah will split the funds equally, each to pay $250,000, and the hospital has stated its staff will no longer allow police officers into patient care areas.