Salt Lake police fire detective involved in arrest of U of U nurse Wubbels

Police worried for safety after threats come from around the country over nurse arrest (Photo: Police video)

(KUTV) Salt Lake City police confirmed that the detective of a controversial arrest of a nurse at the University of Utah hospital has been fired.

An internal investigation concluded last month, but the decision to fire Detective Jeff Payne and demote Lt. James Tracy, also involved, became clear Tuesday.

Payne arrested nurse Alex Wubbels who would not allow Payne to draw blood from an unconscious patient.

Payne was on paid administrative leave. According to his attorney, Jeff Payne, an appeal is likely and he advised his client to appeal the decision. He also said Payne was disappointed by Tuesday's news.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Tuesday it has not yet been determined if charges will be filed against Payne.

Salt Lake City Police Department said it would not comment on the case Tuesday.

Payne can be heard on his body camera footage from his July 26 interactions with Wubbles: “We are done, we are done, you are under arrest.”

Video of the incident was given to the news media by attorney Karra Porter during a press conference with nurse Wubbels on Sept 2. She 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

Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office and Unified Police launched an independent criminal investigation of the arrest at the center of a now-viral video from the University of Utah ER.

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

Wubbels had the backing of her supervisors and 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.

Wubbels' attorney Karra Porter said via Tuesday after news of the firing:

"Chief Brown took significant steps, and seems to understand the importance of regaining public trust. But further discussions are needed."

News of the arrest, including body-cam footage from police and an exclusive KUTV interview with Wubbels, spread nationwide.

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