SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah nurse who was arrested for refusing to let a police officer draw blood from an unconscious patient said Tuesday that she was settling with Salt Lake City and the university that runs the hospital for $500,000.
Nurse Alex Wubbels and her lawyer, Karra Porter, announced the move nearly two months after they released police body-camera video showing Detective Jeff Payne handcuffing Wubbels. The footage drew widespread attention online amid the ongoing national conversation about police use of force.
The settlement covers all possible defendants in a lawsuit, including individual police officers and hospital security officers, and the payout will be divided among the city and the University of Utah.
Wubbel was following hospital policy when she told Payne he needed a warrant or the consent of the patient to draw blood after a July 26 car crash. The patient was not under arrest or suspected of wrongdoing.
Payne had neither. He eventually dragged Wubbels outside and handcuffed her as she screamed that she had done nothing wrong.
She was released without being charged but has said the incident left her feeling terrified and bullied. In a call for changes, Wubbel and her lawyer released the video they had obtained through a public records request.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown has since apologized and fired Payne after an internal investigation found he violated department policies.
Brown said in a disciplinary letter that he was “deeply troubled” by Payne’s conduct, which he said brought “significant disrepute” on the department.
Payne is appealing that decision, saying the firing was an unfair reaction to the negative publicity.
The patient was an off-duty Idaho reserve police officer driving a semitrailer when he was hit by a man fleeing police in a pickup truck. He later died of his injuries.
Lt. James Tracy, a police supervisor who ordered the arrest of the nurse, was demoted to officer and also is appealing. He said he suggested Payne consider handcuffing the nurse and that his superiors had never informed him of the hospital’s blood-draw policy, according to appeal documents.
[Screengrab via Salt Lake City Police Department]