Salt Lake Police Detective Jeff Payne initially put on a pretense of patience in the burn unit. He let nurse Alex Wubbels put her supervisor on speakerphone, and then humored her as she printed out a copy of the University Hospital's policy on when it's acceptable for cops to draw blood from their patients.
Payne would need a warrant, it explained. Otherwise the patient—who was unconscious—would have to consent. The only other way to get the blood would be if he was under arrest.
"I'm just trying to do what I'm supposed to do, that's all," Wubbels said as Payne grew increasingly agitated.
"You're making a huge mistake right now, because you're threatening a nurse," the supervisor cautioned over speakerphone.
Then Payne declared he was "done." In a violent turn of events, he dragged Wubbels out of the hospital, cuffed her, and shoved her into a car as she screamed for help.
"This is crazy," Wubbels wailed in a video first unveiled in a press conference Thursday. "Why is he so angry? I've done nothing wrong. What is happening?"
The July 26 incident—which was caught on the body cameras of officers present, including Payne—stemmed from deadly head-on collision that took place the same day. A driver fleeing from police hit a truck driver and put him in a comatose state. Payne was apparently there to see if the injured man had any substances in his system in order to protect him from criminal charges, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Drawing blood from the man would have gone against more than just hospital policy. The Supreme Court declared warrantless blood tests of suspected drunk drivers unconstitutional in June.
Wubbels has not been charged with a crime, and Payne is still on duty. The Associated Press reports that the Salt Lake City Police Department has started an internal investigation into the incident.
"The only job I have is to keep my patients safe," Wubbels said during Thursday's press conference, which was intended to call attention to the incident. "A blood draw, it just gets thrown around there like it's some simple thing. But blood is your blood. That's your property. And when a patient comes in in a critical state, that blood is extremely important and I don't take it lightly."
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