Another cop was placed on administrative leave with pay in the handcuffing of a Utah hospital nurse who refused to take blood from an unconscious patient.
Salt Lake City’s mayor and police chief apologized Friday to Utah Hospital nurse, Alex Wubbels, who is seen in body cam video screaming “help me” after Detective Jeff Payne handcuffed and dragged her out of the hospital over her refusal to take the blood sample from the patient, a car-crash victim, on July 26.
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Alex Wubbels was dragged out of the hospital in handcuffs after she refused to allow blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient. (AP)
The video has caused outrage since it was released Thursday.
Payne was placed on paid leave and prosecutors on Friday announced a a criminal investigation.
Police said Friday a second officer was also placed on paid leave. That officer has not been formally identified, but officials have said they also were reviewing the conduct of Payne's boss, a lieutenant who reportedly called for the arrest if Wubbels kept interfering.
Mayor Jackie Biskupski said Friday she was alarmed at what the video shows, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
“What I saw is completely unacceptable to the values of my administration and of the values of the Salt Lake City Police Department,” the mayor said, according to the paper. “I extend a personal apology to Ms. Wubbels for what she has been through for simply doing her job.”
The video shows Wubbels, an Alpine skier who participated in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, calmly explaining to Payne why she could not draw blood from the patient.
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The Salt Lake City police chief and mayor apologized and changed department policies in line with the guidance Alex Wubbels was following the incident. (AP)
She tells him that blood can only be drawn if the patient is conscious and gives consent or is under arrest. Otherwise, she tells Payne she needs to see a warrant, citing a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Payne is then seen threatening to arrest Wubbels.
“I either go away with blood in vials or body in tow,” Payne is seen saying.
Wubbels is then heard explaining the situation to the supervisor. She tells Payne that her supervisor agrees with her and says to him, “Sir, you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.”
With that, Payne is seen placing Wubbels under arrest and physically shoving her out the door as she screams.
The video shows Wubbels yelling, “Help! Stop! I did nothing wrong!” while being handcuffed.
Payne was attempting to get a blood sample from William Gray, a reserve officer in Rigby, Idaho, who was burned after being involved in a head-on crash with a pickup truck driver who was fleeing police, the Washington Post reported. The driver died in the incident.
Payne wrote in a police report that he grabbed Wubbels and took her outside to avoid causing a "scene" in the emergency room. He said his boss told him to arrest Wubbels if she kept interfering.
The detective left Wubbels in a hot police car for 20 minutes before realizing that blood had already been drawn as part of treatment, her lawyer, Karra Porter, said. Wubbels was released without being arrested.
Payne initially remained on duty although he was suspended from blood-draw duties.
Christina Judd, a spokesperson for the Salt Lake City Police, said the department was alarmed by what they witnessed in the video.
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Judd said the department was working to investigate what went wrong and is seeking to repair the “unfortunate rift” it had caused between officers and nurses.
“I can’t sit on this video and not attempt to speak out both to re-educate and inform,” Wubbels told The Salt Lake Tribune. Police departments “need to be having conversations about what is appropriate intervention.”
Her bosses have stood by her.
"University of Utah Health supports Nurse Wubbles and her decision to focus first and foremost on the care and well-being of her patient,” said Suzanne Winchester, the hospital's media relations manager. “She followed procedures and protocols in this matter and was acting in her patient’s best interest. We have worked with our law enforcement partners on this issue to ensure an appropriate process for moving forward.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.