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Utah nurse Alex Wubbels

Utah nurse's arrest now focus of criminal investigation


Updated September 02, 2017 12:23 PM EDT

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office and Unified Police have launched an independent criminal investigation into Alex Wubbel's arrest that went viral.

The nurse was arrested after she refused to conduct a blood withdraw without a police warrant. Wubbels was later released without charge, but officials called the video of the incident "alarming."

"I was alarmed by what I saw in the video with our officer and Ms. Wubbles," Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said. "I am sad at the rift this has caused between law-enforcement and the nurses we work so closely with. I want to be clear, we take this very seriously."

The department placed Salt Lake police Det. Jeff Payne, as well as another employee, on administrative leave.

Wubbles released a statement Friday saying she received a call from Brown and the mayor, apologizing for the incident.

"The outpouring of support has been beyond what I could have imagined," Wubbles said. "Since the incident, the city has taken this matter seriously, and I believe that positive change will occur," Wubbles told KSL reporter Carter Williams.

“We are done, we are done, you are under arrest,” is what Det. Jeff Payne said on his body camera video on July 26 while speaking to a nurse in Salt Lake City, according to our local affiliate KUTV.

The video was given to the news media by attorney Karra Porter during a Thursday press conference with nurse Alex Wubbels.

Wubbles can be heard in the video screaming as she’s being hauled away, “You’re assaulting me, stop! I’ve done nothing wrong! This is crazy! This is crazy!"

Payne came to the hospital to get a blood sample from a victim in a fatal car crash in Cache County that happened earlier in the day.

Wubbels would not allow him to get that sample, saying he did not meet one of the three requirements for drawing blood.

Payne didn’t have a warrant, the patient didn’t give consent and the patient was not under arrest.

Wubbles also had the backing of her bosses and many others in the hospital. One of them was on the phone with her and could be heard telling Payne, “Sir, you are making a huge mistake right now.”

Payne wouldn't take no for an answer, and that is when the arrest was made.

“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry and I feel a lot of things,” said Wubbels during the press conference. “The only job I have is to keep my patient safe.

"Blood is your blood - that is your property," she added. "When a patient comes in in a critical state that blood is extremely important. I don’t take it lightly.”

In the video, Payne’s partner could also be heard trying to calm his partner down during the arrest.

Another officer is heard saying, “I don’t think this arrest is going to stick.”

Payne could also be heard after the arrest saying, “I wonder how this is going to affect my Gold Cross job.” Payne is said to also work as an EMT with Gold Cross Ambulance.

"I bring patients here," he continued. "I’ll bring them all the transients and bring good patients elsewhere.”

“I think there was definitely some alarm,” said Sgt. Brandon Shearer with the Salt Lake City Police Department about what happened.

“We’ve been working with Ms. Wubble and her attorney to make sure steps necessary so that something like this doesn’t happen in the future.”

Shearer says an internal investigation is now underway. He says Payne has been suspended from drawing blood, but no disciplinary action has been taken against him. He says that will all be resolved after the investigation is complete.

Wubbels says she’s upset that none of the officers came to her rescue and just stood by and watched her arrest happen.

The University of Utah released the following statement about the incident.

"University of Utah Health supports Nurse Wubbles and her decision to focus first and foremost on the care and well-being of her patient," the statement said.

"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."

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