Kevin Fobbs
Was detective fired for arresting Utah nurse in video legally right?
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By Kevin Fobbs
September 13, 2017

There was a somewhat violent arrest of a nurse on a viral video that needless to say, the whole nation saw on social media. When a Utah police officer pinned University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels against a wall, handcuffed her and dragged her out of the building for refusing to hand over a patient's blood sample, outrage spread across the internet. Did what happened to the officer fit the incident?

According to UPI, Salt Lake City Police Det. Jeff Payne, who was viewed manhandling nurse Wubbels as she was attempting to explain hospital procedure, was terminated by Gold Cross Ambulance, where the officer worked part-time as a paramedic. Was this a fair response by the officer's part time employers or should the officer have been more aware of hospital protocols before he decided to arrest the nurse?

It seemed rather obvious to any onlooker who viewed the Video footage taken from Officer Payne's body camera of the July 26 incident involving the him and the nurse, that he showed little to no patience in allowing the nurse to fully explain the hospital's policy on drawing blood.

Payne, an officer and a detective, should have been completely aware of the need to obtain a warrant or consent of the patient before blood could be drawn. Instead, Payne demanded that the nurse lead him to the patient and that blood be drawn immediately, according to the video.

This ill-conceived course of action was deemed inappropriate by the company, according to a statement which was released by the ambulance firm. It said in part, "Payne's videotaped actions violated several company policies and left a poor image of the company. We determined today it was best to part ways," according to Gold Cross Ambulance chief Mike Moffitt.

It appears according to the statement that the police officer's harsh remarks which were coupled with his overly physical handling of the nurse resulted in his termination. Yet, was the officer operating from what he thought was within his legal right and authority based upon his department's "Implied Consent" arrest policy?

According to Deseret News, the police department policy was actually under review, which the officer may or may not have known at the time of the arrest of the nurse, But the state of Utah eliminated implied consent in the State vs. Rodriquez Utah Supreme Court case. In addition, implied consent was also outlawed in the U.S. Supreme Court opinion of Birchfield vs. North Dakota.

Yet, the confusion still remains because "Implied Consent" still remains "on the books" in Utah. Another legal complication is that the Utah Supreme Court ruled that it was only determined to be unconstitutional in criminal matters, not civil matters. As for Office Payne, he was placed on administrative leave by the police department.

© Kevin Fobbs

 

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Kevin Fobbs

Kevin Fobbs is founder and president of a policy organization called National Urban Policy Action Council (NuPac), www.nupac.info that supports conservative colorblind solutions to universal issues and domestic policies that impact urban America... (more)

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