The July confrontation in Utah made headlines nationwide: a University Hospital nurse standing off a Salt Lake City police officer, refusing to allow blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient involved in a car crash. Alex Wubbels correctly pointed out
to Detective Jeff Payne the patient was not under arrest, Payne did not have a
warrant to obtain the blood, and that he could not obtain consent from the
Payne arrested Wubbels anyway, ostensibly for obstruction
of justice, but the nurse was released less than an hour later and never
charged. Today, Wubbels and her attorney announced they have reached a settlement with the city and the university that owns
the hospital for $500,000.
“We all deserve to know the truth and the truth comes
when you see the actual raw footage and that’s what happened in my case,”
Wubbels during a press conference. “No matter how truthful I was in telling my
story, it was nothing compared to what people saw and the visceral reaction
people experienced when watching the footage of the experience that I went
The nurse announced she will use a portion of the
settlement funds to help people get body camera footage of incidents involving
themselves for free. Wubbels also said she will make a donation to the Utah
Nurses Association and will help spearhead the #EndNurseAbuse campaign by the
American Nurses Association. According to reports, the settlement bars future
civil litigation over the matter.
Still, a criminal investigation into Wubbels’ arrest remains
ongoing, involving the Unified Police Department, the FBI, and the Salt Lake
County District Attorney’s Office. In September, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie
Biskupski announced an internal affairs investigation had found Payne and his
watch commander Lt. James Tracy violated several department policies during
their interaction with Wubbels, and the city’s independent Police Civilian
Review Board determined both officers violated department policies. The Salt
Lake Police Department fired Payne, and demoted Tracey to the rank of officer.
The University of Utah is splitting the costs of the
settlement with the city after reports found university officers failed to
defuse the situation or defend Wubbels from arrest.
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