A Utah police officer who was caught on video roughly handcuffing a nurse because she refused to allow a blood draw was fired Tuesday in a case that became a flashpoint in the ongoing national conversation about police use of force, the AP reports. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown made the decision after an internal investigation found evidence Det. Jeff Payne violated department policies when he arrested nurse Alex Wubbels and dragged her out of the hospital as she screamed on July 26, said Sgt. Brandon Shearer, a spokesperson for the department. Attorney Greg Skordas has said Payne served the department well for nearly three decades and questioned whether his behavior warranted termination. Payne's supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, was also demoted to officer.
The case received widespread attention after the body-camera video was released by Wubbels and her lawyer in late August. It showed her explaining that hospital policy required a warrant or formal consent to draw blood from the patient who had been injured in a car crash. The patient wasn't suspected of wrongdoing. He was an off-duty reserve Idaho police officer driving a semitrailer when he was hit by a man fleeing police in a pickup truck. Payne nevertheless insisted, saying the evidence would protect the man. Payne told Wubbels his supervisor said he should arrest her if she didn't allow the blood draw. Tracy arrived on scene after the arrest and forcefully told a handcuffed Wubbels that she should have allowed the blood draw. She was later released without charge.
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