Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse who has gone viral because of a video showing Detective Jeff Payne violently arresting the nurse for refusing to give a blood sample from her unconscious patient, has spoken out about the incident. As seen in the below video from Today, Alex and Karra Porter, Wubbels’ attorney, said that a civil lawsuit against police officers was still an option that they are not taking off the table. Alex hoped that the video of her arrest would bring forward positive change in the way the police interacts with the nursing community and the public at large. Wubbels said that those kinds of arrests might happen all the time — but she had the evidence to prove what happened.
The interview spoke about a popular Change.org petition for Nurse Wubbels, as well as the overwhelming support and gratitude that Alex feels coming from the public to support nurses and the healthcare field. Wubbels spoke about the unfortunate problem that needs to be fixed in society to foster effective communication and dialogue with the police. Wobbles released the video because the police needed accountability, according to Alex. The incident happened on July 26, and Alex reported that she waited to release the video because she needed the time for her emotions to rest enough to be pragmatic about what actually happened.
According to Today, the Salt Lake City police has placed the man seen putting the handcuffs on Wubbels, Detective Jeff Payne, on paid administrative leave. The second police officer seen in the video is also on paid leave, but the police have not released his name. Wubbels said that while the Salt Lake City police were opening a dialogue with Alex prior to the video being released, she didn’t get the same response from the university police. Therefore, Wubbels decided to make the video public, to show them their behavior, even if they weren’t ready to see it.
Wubbels noted that she didn’t understand Payne’s sense of urgency to get the blood from the patient without a required warrant or permission — but since the accident at the heart of the patient’s injuries involved a police chase, there’s curiosity online over whether police were urgent to prove that the man had some kind of substance in his body, perhaps in order to escape any “hot pursuit” controversies. Alex noted that there was a need to make the situation better — one that should never have happened, said Wubbels.
Nevertheless, Detective Payne seemed intent on getting that blood sample, although Alex said she didn’t think there was any sense of urgency. Wubbels thought that Payne should have taken the time to talk with his superiors. Wubbels stated she didn’t know what his problem was. Karra said most people don’t have the kind of evidence that Alex had. Wubbels said that this kind of thing does happen and can happen to anyone, but when Wubbels was queried on whether or not she believed the police officers’ punishment was enough, she noted that it wasn’t up to her to decide.
“I can’t say that. I’m not here to police the police. The police need to do that if they’re going to regain any kind of trust by me or the public. I feel a sense of urgency for this conversation. We need to make this better. This can’t be happening, it should’ve never happened, and if I have anything to say about it, it won’t ever happen again.”
[Featured Image by Salt Lake City Police Department/Courtesy of Karra Porter/AP Images]