Video Shows Police Violently Arresting Nurse After She Refused to Let Him Take Patient’s Blood

In 2016, the US Supreme Court ruled warrantless blood tests were unconstitutional.

Update, October 11: Jeff Payne, the police officer who was filmed dragging a nurse out of a hospital after she refused to let him take an unconscious patient’s blood, was fired on Tuesday.

“I think I owe it to the body camera footage,” Alex Wubbels said, responding to the news of Payne’s dismissal. “Without that, my story would never have had the impact that it has had.”

Previously:

A Utah nurse is speaking out after she says she was assaulted and illegally arrested last month, after refusing to allow a Salt Lake City police officer take an unconscious patient’s blood. Footage of the July 26 incident was released Thursday, and it shows detective Jeff Payne dragging Alex Wubbels into a police car while she screams for help.

“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry. I feel a lot of things,” Wubbels, a nurse at the University of Utah Hospital, said in an press conference Thursday.

“The only job I have is to keep my patients safe,” she continued. “A blood draw, it just gets thrown around there like it’s some simple thing. But blood is your blood. That’s your property. And when a patient comes in in a critical state, that blood is extremely important and I don’t take it lightly.”

The video, which was recorded on a police body camera, shows Payne attempting to pressure Wubbels into handing over vials of blood he said he needed in order to determine whether a truck driver was under the influence during a car accident that left one person dead. Wubbels is seen calmly explaining that the driver was not under arrest, nor did Payne have an electronic warrant or the patient’s consent, which are required in order to draw blood from an unconscious person in the hospital.

“I don’t know, I have no idea why he’s blaming me,” Wubbels told her supervisor, who was on speakerphone during the tense standoff.

“Why are you blaming the messenger, sir?” the supervisor asked Payne.

“She was the one who has told me no,” he responded.

“Yes sir, but you’re making a huge mistake right now. You’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.”

Payne then appears to erupt in anger, as he forcefully places Wubbels under arrest. She was eventually released and no charges were filed.

An internal investigation into the incident is ongoing. As of this time, Wubbels says she is not planning legal action.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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