SALT LAKE CITY, UT (THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE) – An internal affairs investigation into two Salt Lake City police officers involved in the arrest of a University Hospital nurse has found several department policies were violated during the July 26 confrontation.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced the investigation findings Wednesday in a news conference at City Hall. In addition, she discussed a recently-completed review by the city’s independent Police Civilian Review Board, which also found the officers violated department policies.
Detective Jeff Payne and his watch commander, Lt. James Tracy, now have 20 days to respond to the internal affairs investigation, after which Chief Mike Brown will use the reports to make a decision on the officers’ future.
A Utah police officer accused of assaulting and unlawfully arresting a nurse after she refused to let him take a blood sample from an unconscious patient without a warrant has been fired from his second job as a part-time paramedic.
Salt Lake City detective Jeff Payne was terminated from his job at Gold Cross Ambulance service over comments he made while taking nurse Alex Wubbels into custody, which were captured on his body-camera.
Mr Payne said he would bring transient patients to the hospital and take the “good patients” elsewhere to retaliate against Ms Wubbels.
Those remarks were concerning for Gold Cross Ambulance president Mike Moffitt, who said he heard them for the first time when the video was released last week.
Ms Wubbels was following hospital policy on July 26 when she refused to let Mr Payne take blood without a warrant or formal consent from the patient who was unconscious in the hospital burn unit.
He had been in a car accident that started with a police chase.
Mr Payne maintained in his report that he wanted the blood sample to protect the man rather than prosecute him.
Calls to Mr Payne’s publicly-listed phone numbers were not answered, and the Salt Lake police union did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Officer handcuffs and drags nurse outside hospital
The video shows Ms Wubbels explaining that she could not allow a blood draw from a patient who had not been arrested or consented, unless police had a warrant.
They did not, but Mr Payne insisted and put her on the phone with his lieutenant who said she would be arrested if she did not agree.
The dispute ended with Mr Payne handcuffing the nurse and dragging her outside while she screamed and said: “I’ve done nothing wrong!”
Mr Payne was put on paid leave by Salt Lake City police after the video emerged.
A second officer, who has not been identified, was also put on leave after authorities opened a criminal investigation into the arrest.
Police have said the lieutenant’s actions are also under review.
Mr Payne joined Salt Lake City police more than 20 years ago and worked for Gold Cross as an EMT and paramedic since 1983.
He was generally a hardworking, conscientious employee who followed the rules, so his behaviour on the video was shocking, Mr Moffitt said.
Gold Cross is a private company that contracts with Salt Lake City to respond to medical calls in the city.