Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne Fired From Part-Time Paramedic Job For Comments About Nurse Arrest

Rick BowmerAP

The Salt Lake City police detective who arrested a University of Utah Hospital nurse for refusing to draw blood from a patient without a warrant has been fired from his part-time job.

Jeff Payne became the subject of a tidal wave of backlash when media released footage of him violently taking nurse Alex Wubbels into custody back on July 26.

Following the incident, which could now result in a possible civil suit against Payne and Salt Lake City Police Department, Payne was caught on camera commenting on the incident and his employment with Gold Cross Ambulance. Payne said he would retaliate against Wubbels and the hospital by using his position as a paramedic with Gold Cross to bring only transients to University Hospital and the “good patients” elsewhere.

The Salt Lake City Tribune obtained a copy of the footage, and the clip made its way to Gold Cross brass, who terminated Payne Tuesday, “effective immediately.” Gold Cross spokesmen said that while Payne was not working for the ambulance company when he took Wubbels into custody, his remarks about transients were inappropriate.

“We acknowledge those concerned individuals who have contacted us regarding this incident and affirm our commitment to serving all members of the community with kindness and respect,” the statement said. “We will continue to maintain our values of outstanding patient focused care, safety, and the complete trust of the communities we serve.”

According to reports, the footage also contains a conversation between Payne and another officer about whether Wubbels obstructed justice when she refused to draw the patient’s blood. Payne also mentions his paramedic job, telling the other officer he hopes the incident doesn’t “affect his Gold Cross job.”

Payne and another officer involved in the arrest of Wubbels have been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has also launched a criminal probe. No charges have been filed against either officer as of this report.

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Wubbels refused to draw blood from the patient, an unconscious victim of an automobile accident, because Payne did not have a search warrant. The protocol was created by an agreement between the hospital and police department. Wubbels called a hospital official before she was arrested, and the official could be heard via speakerphone telling Payne he was “making a mistake” by pressuring the nurse to draw blood against hospital policy. Just then, Payne abruptly said, “We’re done here. We’re done. We’re done.” A struggling and pleading Wubbels was then placed in handcuffs.

“I’ve done nothing wrong!” Wubbels yelled, as Payne shoved her toward his squad car. “I’ve done nothing wrong! Why is this happening? This is crazy!”

Wubbels was detained in the backseat for 20 minutes before being released without charges.

[Featured Image by Rick Bowmer/AP Images]