U of U nurse Alex Wubbels accepts financial settlement after wrongful arrest by Salt Lake City Police detective

Photo: Salt Lake City Police

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 31, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A University of Utah burn unit nurse who was arrested after refusing to break with policy and provide a blood sample from an unconscious accident victim has reached a financial settlement with “all parties,” her attorney said Tuesday.

The $500,000 settlement means that Alex Wubbels will not be filing a lawsuit against those involved, including the Salt Lake City Police Department and University of Utah.

The incident happened July 26 when Wubbels refused to draw the patient’s blood, telling Detective Jeff Payne the legal guidelines had not been met since the man could not consent and no warrants for his arrest or for his blood had been issued.

Payne confirmed that Wubbels was denying his request, then grabbed and handcuffed her and placed her in his patrol car, holding her for about 20 minutes before releasing her without filing charges.

Wubbels asked a U of U police officer to protect her because Payne was threatening her with arrest, and the U of U officer declined, saying if she interfered with Payne’s investigation, she would be obstructing justice.

The arrest was caught on body camera, cell phone and security camera videos, and the footage was later released by Wubbels’ attorney. The video went viral, drawing ire from healthcare officials and social media users. The story was featured on multiple news and talk shows and cast Salt Lake City in an unflattering light.

Wubbels said she plans to use a part of the settlement to help fund a new initiative to help people gain access to body camera videos.

On Sept. 13, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced an internal investigation had found Payne and his supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, guilty of violating multiple policies.

Payne was fired, although he said he intends to appeal that decision. Tracy was demoted but remains with the department.


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