SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 10, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff Payne has been fired after his July arrest of University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels.
According to reports, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown fired Payne on Tuesday, and demoted Lt. James Tracy, who was supervising Payne at the time of the incident, and conferred with him regarding how to respond to Wubbels.
Brown wrote in a termination letter to Payne that he had lost faith and confidence in the detective’s ability to serve in the department. The Salt Lake City Police Department has confirmed the firing and demotion.
Payne and Tracy had been the subject of multiple investigations after the July 26 exchange with Wubbels, a Burn Unit nurse at the University Hospital.
Payne told Wubbels to draw a blood sample from truck driver William Gray, the the unconscious victim of a fiery collision in Cache County (see dash camera video here). The crash had killed a suspect fleeing from the Logan Police Department.
Wubbels declined, and explained that the blood draw legally required the officer have a search or arrest warrant, or the patient’s verbal consent.
Refused, Payne became hostile and grabbed the nurse, putting her in handcuffs, then in the back of his patrol car as she yelled that she had done nothing wrong. Ultimately, no formal charges were filed against her.
Brown and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski held a news conference, saying they had learned of the exchange and video at the same time the public had.
“I was alarmed by what I saw in the video with our officer and Ms. (Alex) Wubbels,” 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.”
Payne and Tracy were put on suspension while the case was investigated by multiple government and citizens agencies. A report released on Payne found that he had broken multiple regulations and police policies in the case.
Brown was instructed to make the final decision on the impact to the men’s employment, which he now has.
Gray, a reserve officer with the Rigby (Idaho) Police Department, died of his injuries on Sept. 25.