Utah police officer fired for treatment of nurse who refused blood draw

Patrick Harmon

Payne's supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, was demoted to officer.

Attorney Greg Skordas, who represents Payne, said his client plans to appeal a firing he considers unfair and over the top. The two now have five days to file an appeal of the decisions if they wish.

A Utah police officer who was captured on body-cam footage arresting a nurse who refused to draw blood from an unconscious patient was sacked on Tuesday.

Hospital policy, state law and federal law all required Payne to present a warrant or get the patient's consent to collect a blood sample.

The University of Utah said it had introduced a new policy on blood samples barring officers from coming to the hospital in person to seek them.

In this case, the patient wasn't suspected of wrongdoing William Gray, 43, a commercial truck driver and an off-duty reserve Idaho police officer, was driving a semitrailer when he was hit by a man fleeing police in a pickup truck.

The footage went viral after Wubbels and her attorney played it at a news conference in early September, stoking a heated national debate about police use of force and eliciting a chorus of condemnations from nurses' associations and others.

In addition to his job as a police officer, Payne was also fired from a separate job as a part-time paramedic.

Dramatic body cam footage of the August 13 shooting shows Salt Lake Police Officer Clinton Fox yelling, "I'll (expletive) shoot you" before firing his gun at 50-year-old Patrick Harmon from behind.

Wubbels' attorney, Karra Porter, said Tuesday that she felt "relief" that Payne was sacked.

In his letter to Tracy, Brown called him the "catalyst that led to the arrest". It came after a monthslong internal affairs investigation. He says Fox has the "training, judgment and ability to make split-second decisions in dynamic situations".

The Associated Press obtained the disciplinary letters for Payne and Tracy through a public records request. Porter told the Tribune on Tuesday that she was pleased that Payne had been fired, and said she had not formed an opinion about Tracy's discipline.

"In order to be thorough, and given the seriousness of the case and the considerable public interest in the matter, all issues must be completely examined to preserve the public's trust in the criminal justice system and ensure the right measures are taken in this case", Gill wrote. "But further discussions are needed". "This is insane", she said as she was led away.

Asked about a potential lawsuit, Porter said she expects to meet soon with city officials to discuss next steps that could include settlement talks.

Wubbels said last month that she and her attorney would only take legal action should the city not appropriately respond to the incident. She wasn't charged, but in the video depicting her arrest, she appears visibly shaken, screaming for help.

Brown said while he recognized Payne has served the department for 27 years, his service "is outweighed by the glaring absence of sound professional judgment and extremely discourteous, disrespectful, inappropriate, unreasonable and unwarranted behavior you displayed in this incident".

'Without the body camera footage, it would have been a she-said, they-said, ' Porter said.


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