It was a shocking viral video seen by millions around the world. Alex Wubbels, a nurse at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, was manhandled by an arresting police officer after she refused an order to draw blood from a patient. Utah law imposes strict restrictions on law enforcement officers from patient-care areas or making any contact with nurses. Wubbels was simply doing her job as the legal health advocate for her patient. It is the latest incident of law enforcement officers abusing the rights of other caught on camera.
Police Abuse of Warrants
Police officers in Utah and throughout the nation are required to have a warrant or permission from the patient to draw a blood sample. During the video, Wubbels clearly informed the officer of the hospital’s policy protecting the patient’s rights. But Salt Lake City detective Jeff Payne refused to comply with hospital rules. He grabbed Wuebbels around the waist and shoved her out of the building, placing the nurse in handcuffs. Wubbels could be heard screaming, “you’re assaulting me” and “help me” on the video. The Salt Lake City Police Department has responded by placing two of its officers on administrative leave. While the case is under investigation, the city’s mayor and police chief have already issued apologies.
Since the release of the video, Wubbels has been interviewed by the Today Show, CNN, and various national media outlets. In several of the interviews, she voiced her concern about the lack of accountability by the Salt Lake City Police Department. Wuebbels also said she felt betrayed by both the law enforcement officers and the hospital security staff. During the incident, hospital guards just stood idly while Wuebbels was physically harassed and arrested by Payne. The patient who Wubbels was protecting was truck driver William Gray, who is also a reserve police officer in Idaho. An accident suspect had crashed into his tractor trailer and fled the scene. Although Gray was not accused of any wrongdoing, Salt Lake City Police had wanted to draw his blood. “I stood for what was right,” Wuebbels told CNN. “Any nurse, I think, would have done exactly what I did.”
How to Handle a Wrongful Arrest?
The job of every police officer is to uphold and enforce the law to protect society. Unfortunately, some officers abuse their privileges and believe they are above the law. In many cases, it results in a wrongful arrest. The case of Alex Wubbels is not unusual. But separates her from many wrongful arrest victims in Salt Lake City was knowing her legal rights. It can often make the difference between beating criminal charges of serving significant time behind bars.
A Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Just one wrongful arrest can leave a permanent stain on a person’s record and ruin their reputation. It is important to fight these charges as quickly and aggressively as possible. The criminal defense attorneys at White & Matern, PLLC are committed to protecting the rights of each client. The utilize an aggressive and comprehensive approach to help place clients in the best position to succeed. Over the years, they have successfully helped many law abiding men and women resolve their legal problems. To learn more, contact their Salt Lake City criminal law office today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.