SALT LAKE CITY – As the story of a Utah nurse arrested after upholding a policy on drawing blood from patients gains nationwide attention, the Salt Lake County District Attorney is requesting a criminal investigation into the matter.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced that as a result of the criminal investigation, the officer involved in the incident, identified as Detective Jeff Payne, will be placed on full administrative leave with pay.
“We cannot allow an incident like this to divide our community or taint the good work of SLCPD,” Biskupski said. “When I learned of this unacceptable incident last night, I was outraged and will ensure it is fully and independently investigated so our community can heal.”
Alex Wubbels was arrested July 26 after she refused an officer’s demand to allow a blood draw on a semi truck driver critically injured in a crash when a suspect fleeing from police hit him head-on.
As Wubbels explained the policy and her supervisor backed her up via speaker phone, Payne suddenly declared “we’re done here” and arrested Wubbels. Video of the nurse screaming as she is dragged out the hospital and arrested went viral after it was released at a press conference Thursday.
Friday, District Attorney Sim Gill stated he is requesting a criminal investigation after receiving numerous complaints about the issue.
“In fairness to all those involved I have requested a criminal investigation into the incident so that the District Attorneys office could screen the matter after gathering all the facts,” Gill stated. “Our office had not received any materials on the matter thus far and in the interest of justice and given the prima facie evidence a criminal investigation is warranted.”
Gill said that both Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Chief of Police Mike Brown have agreed such an investigation is appropriate.
“I thank them for their commitment to transparency and institutional accountability,” Gill states. “Injustice against one is an injustice against all. Everyone deserves a fair process and institutional accountability is our collective responsibility.”
Police Chief Mike Brown also vowed to do “what is necessary to fully investigate the issue, uphold the integrity of the Salt Lake City Police Department, and strengthen the trust with our community.”
The full statement from Gill can be read below: