“Utah police have released a disturbing video of officers handcuffing and arresting” Alex Wubbels, a Salt Lake City nurse, “for refusing to obey a clearly unconstitutional order.” The video footage shows Detective Jeff Payne aggressively arresting Wubbels “for refusing to allow the officer to draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant.” Shortly after news of the incident broke, and after the disturbing footage was viewed by people across the country, Payne was suspended “from the department’s blood draw unit,” and even the city’s police chief, Mike Brown, called the footage “very alarming.” However, though Payne has been suspended from the blood draw unit, he “remains on active duty pending an inquiry.”
Have you heard about the nurse in Utah who got arrested for doing her job? For those who don’t know, “Utah police have released a disturbing video of officers handcuffing and arresting” Alex Wubbels, a Salt Lake City nurse, “for refusing to obey a clearly unconstitutional order.” The video footage shows Detective Jeff Payne aggressively arresting Wubbels “for refusing to allow the officer to draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant.” Shortly after news of the incident broke, and after the disturbing footage was viewed by people across the country, Payne was suspended “from the department’s blood draw unit,” and even the city’s police chief, Mike Brown, called the footage “very alarming.” However, though Payne has been suspended from the blood draw unit, he “remains on active duty pending an inquiry.”
What prompted the confrontation, though? Well, according to reports, the incident occurred back on July 26 after a high-speed police chase resulted in a fiery car crash. The crash itself happened when “a vehicle driven by an unnamed suspect was fleeing from police in Cache County and crossed into on coming traffic and suffered a head-on collision with a truck.” The fleeing suspect perished in the crash, but the truck driver, who sustained serious burn injuries, was sedated and flown to the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit in Salt Lake City.
It’s important to note that the truck driver was by no means identified as a suspect for any wrongdoing. Despite this, though, when Payne arrived at the hospital, he was ordered by his supervisors to “obtain a blood sample from the truck driver and to arrest anyone who attempted to interfere.” The problem with those orders, though, was that Payne lacked the necessary means to obtain a blood sample. For starters, he didn’t have a warrant, and he “lacked probable cause to get a warrant.” On top of that, the poor truck driver was unconscious and “could not consent to having his blood drawn.” Knowing this didn’t stop Payne from trying to get a blood sample, and his aggressive behavior led to the confrontation caught on the camera footage made available by Deseret news below:
Throughout the first half of the video Wubbels responds to Payne’s impatience with professionalism and patience, and took the time to “professionally explaining to Payne that without a warrant, she cannot allow him to draw blood from an unconscious patient.” Soon after, she is joined by hospital officials and one of her supervisors, who also chimed in saying it was “both contrary to hospital policy and illegal for Payne to draw blood from this patient without a warrant.” Wubbels was even on the phone with hospital officials to verify that Payne’s requests were illegal.
Throughout the exchange, Payne is seen growing more agitated and threatened numerous times to arrest the nurse, to which “Wubbels’ supervisor asks Payne to stop threatening a nurse who is trying to do her job.” That request appeared to send Payne over board and he lost his temper, slapped Wubbels’ phone from her hand, and proceeded to drag her outside where he placed her in handcuffs.
During the arrest, Wubbels can be heard shouting, “This is crazy. This is crazy. Why is he so angry?”
Many can agree that the video is disturbing, but what exactly does the law say about the matter? Well, as of June 2016, “the Supreme Court ruled that requiring drivers to submit to a blood test without a warrant was unconstitutional.” At the time, Justice Samual Alito reasoned that “unlike breathalyzer tests, blood tests are sufficiently invasive that without a warrant, they constitute an unreasonable search and thus violate the Fourth Amendment.”
Because the truck driver wasn’t identified as a suspect in the case involving the high-speed chase, the police department “had no probable cause to obtain a warrant for his blood because he was not suspected of doing anything wrong.” Additionally, he wasn’t able to give consent to a blood draw because he was unconscious.
In fact, if the hospital would have complied with Payne’s requests, it could have been “held legally liable” by allowing one of their patient’s rights to be violated. So by refusing to obey Payne, Wubbels likely saved her hospital a lawsuit.
Fortunately, in the end, Wubbels was released without charges. For now, she has no plans of filing a lawsuit but wants to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again. When asked about what she plans on doing next, she said:
“I think right now, I believe in the goodness of society. I want to see people do the right thing first and I want to see this be a civil discourse. And if that’s not something that’s going to happen and there is refusal to acknowledge the need for growth and the need for re-education, then we will likely be forced to take that type of step. But people need to know that this is out there.”
Video: Utah nurse handcuffed, arrested for refusing to obey blatantly unconstitutional police orders
Officer Who Arrested Utah Nurse In Viral Video Is Now Under Criminal Investigation
Join the conversation!