Fired Cop's Attorney Argues His Client Is Being Punished Unfairly Because The Public Got To See His Misconduct

from the but-for-self-inflicted-video dept

A little over a month ago, body cam footage of a police officer trying to bully a nurse into breaking the law went viral. Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne wrapped up his failed intimidation attempt by arresting nurse Alex Wubbels for following her hospital’s policy on blood draws. If there are no exigent circumstances and the person not suspected of criminal activity, police need a warrant to draw blood.

None of those factors were present when Detective Payne demanded the hospital draw blood from an accident victim. The victim was, in fact, a reserve police officer from an Idaho law enforcement agency, who had been hit head-on by a fleeing suspect. This officer later died from his injuries. He was in a coma when Detective Payne began demanding the hospital hand over some blood, obviously in no condition to consent to the search.

The entire bodycam video of the incident can be seen below.

Payne argued, after being fired for violating department blood draw policies (and for violating a Supreme Court decision, but Payne isn’t expected to know the laws directly affecting his position on the PD’s blood draw team), he arrested Wubbels because he “didn’t want to create a scene” in the emergency room. If he hadn’t arrested her, or demanded she violate both the law and hospital policy, there would have been no scene to be concerned about.

Instead, Payne thought he could intimidate his way through this. Now he’s out of a job and attempting to sue his way back in. (Side note: Payne also lost his moonlighting gig as a paramedic as the body cam footage also caught him saying he would start routing “good patients” to another hospital and bring Wubbels’ ER “transients.”)

His lawyer is making a hell of an argument: Payne was unfairly fired because the public saw him violating department policies.

Attorney Greg Skordas, who represents Payne, said his client plans to appeal a firing he considers unfair and over the top. Skordas said Payne would still be employed if the body camera footage hadn’t generated so much attention and blown the events out of proportion.

There are (at least) two ridiculous implications contained in this statement.

First is the implication that the only “proper “investigation is one that clears the officer of wrongdoing and/or results in the most minimal of discipline. The second follows the first: Skordas is basically affirming law enforcement agencies rarely hand out proportionate discipline unless forced to by public outcry. Neither are good looks for Skordas, his client, or his former employer.

The internal investigation reached the same conclusions anyone would have after viewing the body camera footage: both Payne and his supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, acted in bad faith during the incident, using both intimidation and a profound — perhaps even deliberate — misconstruing of applicable laws in hopes of taking blood from an accident victim (and fellow police officer).

Beneath Skordas’ argument is another ugly assertion: his client feels he’s being unfairly treated because a police camera captured him behaving exactly the way he behaved when he arrested a nurse for following hospital policy and a Supreme Court decision. Detective Payne deprived someone of their liberty — albeit briefly — for daring to stand up for the rights of her patient. That’s about as ugly as it gets.

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Comments on “Fired Cop's Attorney Argues His Client Is Being Punished Unfairly Because The Public Got To See His Misconduct”

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Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Waah! Not fair! I didn't win!

It goes beyond that. Any law that creates a less privileged class of citizen is unconstitutional, period. If this guy wins his lawsuit, it will establish a precedent that video evidence of you committing crimes is unfair under the law if used against you.

Since that is pretty much the core principle of our entire legal system, that evidence of wrongdoing is evidence of wrongdoing, then any criminal could use the same defense, and denying it to them would make them a less privileged class of citizen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is the typical PIG in action, and because of the so called BLUE LINE, the other PIGS allow crap like this to happen. They should have stopped it. If anything every single PIG there should have been fired!!!

Think about this way, You’re the getaway driver for people robbing a bank, and those people shoot and kill someone. YOU as the drive as just as guilty as the others!!! So if that kind of thing applies, so those other PIGS watching this illegal arrest, which is really a kidnapping going down right in front of their facees and didn’t do a single thing to stop it. They ALL should have been fired. Hell they all should get some jail time and in fact they all should be SUED.

The Nurse didn’t do anything wrong. The PIGS do what they always do, step all over everyone’s rights because they don’t give a crap. This is why they’re so much against camera’s. The Camera doesn’t lie, ALL PIGS lie their asses off all the time.

You’re 9 times more likely to be murdered by a PIG then a terrorist!!!

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The unfairness is that he failed at claiming the privilege belonging to 99% of his co-occupationists. So let’s make it fair and start applying the same scrutiny and standards and the rule of law to all the rest of them. Fairness and equality for all.

It would also probably help if they knew something of the law, and had room for less authoritarian type of people in law enforcement.

Stuart LairdAlexander (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, he is correct.

If it was simply a press release of Cop vs Civilian then of course the Cop would be the correct story. But here, here we get to see what happened, not the story the Cops wanted to tell.

Moral of this.
If you don’t want to be held accountable for the shitty things you do and say, stop doing and saying them.
Soon enough, civilian body camera’s will be around enough that none of the Departments and FOP obfuscation against FOIA for video will matter very much.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Two for the price of one

It stinks to me like the police were insistent because they were hoping to get evidence that Gray was in fault in the collision.

The suspect was fleeing from the police when he collided with Gray. My guess is that the pursuit was against policy, so Gray’s death would have been the fault of the police…unless of course he was drunk…

I wonder if they would have resorted to a little evidence tampering, if the blood test didn’t turn out "right"…
("…but first we’ve got to get that %$@*%$!!! nurse to draw the blood.")

Misconduct piled on misconduct…

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Two for the price of one

What is simply wacked-out is that these guys are so intent on exercising their real and imagine powers like bulls in a china shop that this one was essentially attacking a fellow officer, using the incident with a fleeing suspect as leverage. Irony at the very least.

I wonder how this all would have flown if he had managed to get a blood sample through someone more easily frightened into submission, and the victim officer had survived…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Two for the price of one

My guess is that the pursuit was against policy…

Your “guess”, although perhaps widely shared with many other uninformed commenters, nevertheless seems at this point to be entirely without foundation and completely meritless.

Police identify man who died in fiery crash and praises trooper’s actions”, by Will Feelright, Cache Valley Daily, Jul 27, 2010

Because [Utah Highway Patrol] troopers were in pursuit of Torres at the time of the crash, Logan City Police officers were called to investigate the accident. They interviewed witnesses and tried to reconstruct what happened.

As part of their examination, [Logan City Police Chief Gary] Jensen watched dash-cam video of the crash. He said it appears the trooper did everything correct, from the time he initiated his lights and sirens, to the crash occurring 10-seconds later.

“It appears to me to be good judgement making. Good communication on the radio from the troopers, I mean they’re doing the right things. Obviously post-accident, those guys are heroes. They did everything just right. From shutting down the highway immediately and then seeing to patient care, they did a fantastic job.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Two for the price of one

Except when the police do it, you’re the one SCREWED. You can lose your job. Have to pay out a low of money for a lawyer, etc. The police are almost always protected by the UNION. This PIG will just end up some other city’s problems when he’s hired someplace else. That’s how it works. All about the BLUE LINE.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re: Two for the price of one

Really? Here in Orlando, the police pursued a suspect at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, for two and a half hours. In blatant violation of policy. Lied to their police Commander by radio that they were doing no such thing, even could hear over the radio the racing engines and squealing tires.

And that’s where it would have ended, back slaps all around, if it hadn’t been for the fact the chase ended in an accident that killed someone. We heard the radio calls only because the ensuing lawsuit forced them to be revealed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Two for the price of one

We heard the radio calls…

Police investigating fatal accident after UHP trooper’s pursuit”, byWill Feelright, Cache Valley Daily, July 27, 2017

Police radio traffic, provided by Broadcastify, described the scene as two troopers were trying to pull the man over.

      Trooper 1: “We are going to be 10-80. Southbound 89-91, approaching the Park N’ Ride. Do you want to notify Box Elder?”

      Dispatcher 1: “10-4”

      Dispatcher 2: “Copy, 10-80 southbound.”

      Trooper 1: “Send medical and fire. He just went head-on with a semi.”

      Dispatcher 2: “10-4. What’s the location?”

      Trooper 2: “We are right by the South Valley R.V. Just barely north of it.”

Approximate location of fatal crash near Wellsville, Utah.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Two for the price of one

Approximate location of fatal crash near Wellsville, Utah.

Approximate beginning of pursuit along U.S. Highway 89/91 at intersection of Utah State Highway 101.

Attempted police stop leads to fiery crash: 1 fatality, 1 critical injury near Wellsville”, by Amy Macavinta,, Jul 26, 2017

The driver of the truck reportedly turned around near the American West Heritage Center and made a stop at the Welcome Mart at State Road 101, [Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee] Perry said.

One of the troopers spotted the vehicle as it re-entered U.S. 89/91 and continued southbound.

YouTube video: “Dash camera video released by the Utah Highway Patrol, of a fatal crash on Highway 89 / 91 in Wellsville, Utah” (:32), posted by KUTV2News, July 31, 2017

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Two for the price of one

You’re trying to hide the forest behind the trees. From the transcript, “He went head-on with a semi.” Gary’s semi.

Explain: What part of that event required a blood sample from Gray? With such urgency that a nurse who won’t produce it must be arrested? Can you think of any reason other than an urgent desire to arrest Gray for DUI?

Remember, Gray was hit by a fleeing suspect, who died and would unquestionably be legally responsible…unless there was some other “party” who might be responsible if Gray was not…and who might that be?

I tell you, it reeks of cover-up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Two for the price of one

Explain: What part of that event required a blood sample from Gray?

The Logan City Police Department, assigned to investigate the fatal crash, requested assistance to obtain a blood sample from the surviving driver. This request is not out of the ordinary.

With such urgency that a nurse who won’t produce it must be arrested?

(Now-former) Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff Payne, was dispatched to the University of Utah Hospital to provide the requested assistance to the Logan City Police. During the course of this assignment, (former-) Det Payne received instructions from his watch commander, (now-former) Salt Lake City Police Lieutenant James Tracy.

(Former-) Det Payne understood his orders from (former-) Lt Tracy as—

“I either go away with blood in vials or body in tow,” Payne says.

(From report by Salt Lake Tribune of dialogue audible on body camera video.)

In the Oct 10, 2017 Memorandum to Jeff Payne, “Re: Notice of Decision — Internal Affairs Case # C17-0062 Termination of Employment”, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown writes (p.13):

[T]he first time you [former-Det Payne] divulged to [former-] Lt Tracy that you had spoken with Logan Police Department was after you arrested Ms Wubbels . . . Simply put, you inexcusable failed to provide Lt Tracy with critical information at the outset that might have helped him better understand and contextualize the situation.

Watch Command instructed (former-) Det Payne, and Payne carried out his orders.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Two for the price of one

Watch Command instructed (former-) Det Payne…

From (former-) SLCPD Det Jeff Payne’s official police report, contained within the “PCRB Investigation Report” (p.5 in PDF):

Lt Tracey (sic) . . . he was instructing me to arrest her. . . . Lt Tracey (sic) told me that . . . that I was to arrest her . . .

Salt Lake officer who arrested nurse would like to apologize”, by Dan Rascon, KUTV, Sep 20, 2017

"[Payne] believed at the time he was following a direct order," [his attorney Greg] Skordas said.

Oct 10, 2017 Notice of Decision addressed to (former-) SLCPD Lieutenant James Tracy, on p.1:

Specifically, it is alleged that, on July 26, 2017, while serving as Watch Commander, you [Lt. James Tracy] ordered Det. Payne to arrest Ms. Wubbels . . .

Imperative orders.

“Per Watch Command.”             (~12:45 mark)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Two for the price of one

… the police were insistent because…

Utah officer told not to worry about blood sample, chief says”, by Dan Simon and Darran Simon, CNN, Sep 7, 2017

At the hospital, [ (now-former) Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff] Payne relayed his difficulty in getting the blood sample to a Logan detective, who was not at the hospital, [Logan Police Chief Gary] Jensen said. According to Jensen, the detective then informed Payne the Logan department could get the blood through other means.

"He didn’t tell him you must cease and desist, he simply said ‘don’t worry about it, we’ll go another way,’" Jensen told CNN. "I just don’t believe (Payne’s) actions were in the best interest of the patient, the nurses or law enforcement, quite frankly.

"He could have just packed up and gone home," Jensen added.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Two for the price of one

Detective’s body camera confirms that Logan police asked him to back off blood draw before nurse’s arrest”, by Luke Ramseth, Salt Lake Tribune, Sep 08, 2017

“My investigator [tells Payne], ‘Hey, don’t worry about it, we’ll go another route. No worries,’” Jensen told The Salt Lake Tribune Wednesday.

Footage from Payne’s body cam paints a similar picture of his discussions with Logan police about the blood. . . . .

YouTube video: “SLC police body cam footage shows officers discussing nurse confrontation, how to move forward” (3:37), posted by The Salt Lake Tribune, Sep 7, 2017.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Two for the price of one

If you watch the cam video, you can also hear some policemen complaining and trying to discourage the officer from doing what he did.

I don’t know the “civil remedies”, but it appears that the other officers thought she wouldn’t fare better in such a trial as long as she was only escorted to the car.

The guy talking to her while she was in the car seemed to know they were in the wrong, given how he started the conversation. His arguments to her were more in the line of “we have had problems with this place before.”, which he would know is an admission of them being frustrated and thus probably set a mitigating circumstance defence on the sanctions for his colleague.

The use of intimidation from officers side is a known tactic even though it is often bordering on abuse. In this case they didn’t have any leg to stand on, but some nurses would have budged and given the police what they wanted. Now, arresting her was pure stupidity, since it doesn’t accomplish their goal, but threatening an arrest and several other actions was probably their plan all along.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Two for the price of one

If you watch the cam video…

There are, of course, multiple body camera videos. The PCRB Investigation Report (signed “9/9/17”) discusses this on pp. 10-13.

The guy talking to her while she was in the car seemed to know they were in the wrong…

I believe you’re referring to (former-) SLCPD Lieutenant James Tracy.

The use of intimidation… threatening an arrest and several other actions was probably their plan all along.

From the Oct 10, 2017 Memorandum to James Tracy, “Notice of Decision – Internal Affairs Case # C17-0062 Demotion to Police Officer III”, on p.4:

You [ (former-) Lieutenant James Tracy] then can be heard telling Det. Payne that the arrest was not warranted, and that the arrest was a ruse to scare her into allowing Det. Payne to conduct the blood draw by stating, “I don’t think this arrest is going to stick, I was hoping the threat would be enough, but she’s so goddamned scared of her boss….”

(Emphasis added.)

(Former-) Lieutenant James Tracy’s statement quoted in the Oct 10 Memorandum is audible between about timemarks 1:15 – 1:25 in the 3:37 video excerpt from (former-) Detective Payne’s body camera posted to YouTube by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: those pesky laws

Those are state laws. There are also federal laws to consider.

There’s the conspiracy to violate a statutory right (HIPAA), which is a felony.

Then there’s the conspiracy to violate fourth amendment rights by forcing a blood draw without a warrant, also a felony.

The arrest of the nurse is also a violation of her fourth amendment rights as well as her rights to due process, and since it was done while armed with a deadly weapon, the federal rule about possessing a firearm while committing a deadly crime comes into play, and makes what might normally be a misdemeanor into yet another felony.

But the felons just get fired and that’s the end of it, because the FBI is too busy making paranoid schizophrenics dreams come true to do the rest of their job.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: those pesky laws

The problem isn’t that the video went viral.

The reason the video went viral is the actual problem. The video went viral for a reason. That reason is the problem.

Ordinary interactions with the police do not lead to viral videos. When the police are fully justified in using force that does not lead to a viral video. It is misconduct that leads to viral videos. Misconduct that anyone can see for themselves.

Whoever says:

He's right.

Without the publicity, he would still have his job. The city would have quietly settled with the nurse, including an NDA and the cover up would have been effective.

The publicity forced the city and the police department to do something that it would not have otherwise done.

And that’s the real problem. Not this one cop, but the systematic cover up and acceptance of bad and illegal behaviour by cops.

His boss, who went along with the arrest, yet should be expected to know better is still on the force. A demotion isn’t enough.

Christenson says:

Re: He's right, but only because everyone else is wrong.

That is, he is being singled out because of the publicity. Remember, he got away with it before, and his fellow officers will get away with it again.

However, that means there’s a lot more unpunished criminals wearing dark blue, not that he should has any right to be made whole for the reaction to his crimes.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: He's right, but only because everyone else is wrong.

There was a study done a while back that compared arrest rates — not convictions or actual crimes, just arrests — of police officers against the arrest rates for the general public.

IIRC, with only one exception, the police arrest rate was within 1 person per 100,000 of the general public rate in every category except sexual assault, where it was a hair under three times the general public rate.

Given the reluctance of police to violate the thin blue omerta, there are two possibilities to those numbers. Either police just consider sexual assault to be beyond the pale and don’t look the other way on it — meaning police are more criminal in general than the general public across the board — or they are only slightly less crooked than the general public is, but have an ENORMOUS number of rapists in uniform.

Either possibility is horrifying, and I’m honestly not sure which is worse.

David says:

Re: didn't help the nurse was white

Frankly, I don’t see that. A nurse wears a uniform. While she probably wouldn’t in court, she does in the dashcam video where the confrontation is shown.

I’ll readily admit that this is a totally silly criterion (though not more silly than looking at the skin color). But I don’t think one without effect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: didn't help the nurse was white

So a cop was abusing a WHITE nurse?

Some cops are bad, that is agreed. Some cops need to be fired, that is agreed.

Can we also agree that cops don’t go out of their way to discriminate against blacks? Some cops are just assholes and are bad and act bad. Doesn’t matter if you are black or white, a bad cop is just a bad cop.

Cops shoot white people (actually more than they shoot blacks, which is a fact.) Cops shoot black people.

It isn’t a race thing, it is a bad cop thing, agreed?

afn29129 (profile) says:

What job next?

What you gonna do now for a job Jeff Payne? What this video also did was make your prospects of being a LEO somewhere else pretty dang unlikely. A good thing actually. Had there not been a video, a widely seen video, then the abusive behavior could of continued. Some people are just unfit to have that sort of power and authority, and Jeff was clearly on of them. One power-tipper gone, but many thousands still in positions of authority.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: The chiefs can't stop him from returning to duty.

I’m pretty sure that he can still get a job as a police officer, even if the public recognizes him as the nurse-attacker. Many districts have laws against considering the past actions of an officer when considering rehiring him, and he can sue in those cases if he suspects he was turned away from an assignment on those grounds.

Seriously. The benevolent police unions control the precincts like Capone controlled Chicago.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

This makes me think about the common reverse situation.

A lot of criminals are caught because the police use tracking technology (e.g. cell-tower spoofers) that the criminal isn’t aware of. And many of those technologies have not been reviewed by the courts to assure they are safe, reliable (don’t produce false positives) and they don’t violate the rights of the public.

It doesn’t fly suspects argue they didn’t know about the new tech and wouldn’t have been caught if it wasn’t used (and thus it wasn’t fair play.) Judges consistently would rather get the bad guy than protect the public from encroachments by the state.

And the Department of Justice will has even lied to the courts in order to keep new field tech from review. This is how we know the DoJ is not a service to the public but an organized crime syndicate interested in its own profits and ends.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This makes me think about the common reverse situation.

Until this tech starts being used on the law enforcement community, it will continue to be exploited. The moment an insurance company manages to get their hands on one and starts tracking where cops actually are while on duty, and then using that to deny insurance claims, the whole spoofer tech thing will suddenly be rightly declared illegal.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: This makes me think about the common reverse situation.

It wouldn’t even take an insurance company.

The law enforcement exemptions to laws like wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping laws, as well as the computer fraud and abuse act, all rely on law enforcement having a warrant.

If, as law enforcement keeps arguing, the use of those devices does NOT require a warrant, then use of one, even on a police department or other public officials, cannot be wiretapping, eavesdropping or unauthorized access of a computer.

Just imagine the outrage the first time someone blogs about police conspiring to commit crimes, and has the spoofed cellphone tower call records to prove it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Unfortunately, he’s partially right – if it weren’t for the video, things like this do all to often get covered up and swept under the rug by [some] police and police departments. There’s no way to know what might have happened had there not been a video.
But that’s no excuse to not hold him accountable now, just because there *is* a video.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

It’s not fair the public saw how I really act!!!
How will they keep believing we are the good guys when they can see for themselves how we really act!!

Perhaps if he had considered how would this look to an average citizen before adding to the long list of stupid steps he took before putting the cherry on top of the cake.
But then people often like to overlook bad cop behavior.
I wonder if this would have had same outcome if the nursed had been a minority.
I wonder if the public understands the reason they had a hardon to get an innocent victims blood work was so they could blame him for getting hit by their high speed chase target.

Given how much these officers expected the nurse to just draw the blood, I wonder how many other cases of them violating the law are out there. Seems like it was a fairly standard demand & refusal resulted in an over the top response. Perhaps they broke the law starting a high speed chase that killed an innocent person….

David says:

Re: Payne is a dirty cop

The best outcome would be for him to be left unemployed, bankrupt, homeless, and starving: it’s what he deserves.

That’s the U.S. approach. The European approach considers leaving someone bankrupt, homeless, and starving who has been trained in using lethal force and weapons may look like a good idea on paper but does not, in practice, reduce crime rates.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Payne is a dirty cop -- What DOES he deserve?

I agree: Payne is a dirty cop, and he richly deserves to be left unemployed and bankrupt. Vengeance is mine!

But, per David, that’s almost provably not the approach that minimizes crime.

How would you suggest getting this loose cannon under control?

me says:

He did more than deprive someoneone of their liberty falsely

He acted illegally with a warrant, it could be argued his jurisdiction is in question.
He manhandled a medical worker in a medical facility and assaulted her in the process.
He put her patients in a burn unit at risk by removing the nurse on duty.
He injured LEO/EMS trust at a minimum

He should be facing maximal criminal charges.

Anonymous Coward says:

The correct response is, “Tough fucking shit. Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

Police need to be not only held accountable, but also be held to a higher standard. This is because they are the <b>arbiters who enforce the laws</b>. Any breaches should, by necessity, be more harshly punished – simply becaise it is <i>an officer of the law</i> who is in breach.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So why wasn't Lt. James Tracy fired too?

At about 15:50 in the body cam video, Salt Lake City Police (former-) Lieutenant James Tracy tells hospital staff—

There’s a very bad habit up here of your policy interfering with my law.

But earlier in the video, just before 5:50, Alex Wubbels attempts to explain the blood draw policy to (former-) Detective Jeff Payne—

This was something that you guys agreed to with this hospital.

A Sep 5, 2017 Deseret News story, “Detective in nurse arrest video fired from job at Gold Cross”, by Pat Reavy, highlights this disagreement:

The policies

[E]ven though both sides had agreed to the policy, Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking said it hadn’t been officially changed within the police department’s written internal policy.

"The policy that was in place was a policy that was being looked at, and we had begun conversations with the U.," he said Tuesday [Sep 5, 2017]. "Our policy itself had not officially changed.

"Why wasn’t it implemented at the same time that agreement was reached? That’s a big chunk of this investigation. . . . "

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s “FAQ on July 26th Police Incident at the University of Utah Medical Center” (undated):

Within 24 hours of the July 26th incident . . . Days later, SLCPD’s blood draw policy was under review and an updated policy took effect on August 25th.

But going back to Pat Reavy’s Deseret News story—

Neither Porter nor Salt Lake police knew when the agreement was made. But former Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank said Tuesday [Sep 5, 2017] that the policy of only drawing blood if an officer has a warrant, consent, or suspects the individual was impaired, was the policy when he was chief. Burbank declined to make any other comments regarding the incident.

Former Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank left the department in June 2015 — over two years ago.

How much of the July 26, 2017 incident was driven by (former-) Lieutenant James Tracy’s insistence on his own policy — his own “law” ?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Surprising lack of action

So has the person who took the video been arrested for ‘something’ yet?

The 19:22 video embedded in Cushing’s article up top was posted to YouTube by the Deseret News on Aug 31, 2017, and embedded in Pat Reavy’s story, “‘Stop! I’ve done nothing wrong’: Nurse shares police video of ‘crazy’ arrest by S.L. officer” (updated Sep 1, 2017).

As that Deseret News story explains, the video is police body camera footage.

Wubbels and her attorney, Karra Porter, want the public to hear her story and see the disturbing body camera video.

On Thursday [Aug 31, 2017], Wubbels held a press conference to show the video . . .

The July 26 incident was caught on the body cameras of Payne and another officer.

The Salt Lake City Police officer whose body camera captured this footage has subsequently been identified as Salt Lake City Police Officer Denton Harper.

See “District attorney asks FBI to also investigate controversial U. nurse arrest”, by Pat Reavy, Deseret News, Sep 7, 2017

At one point during the recording, officer Denton Harper asks Payne why he doesn’t just get a warrant for the blood. Payne replies that he doesn’t have probable cause.

Anonymous Coward says:

Followup: James Tracy Appeal

[ Note: This article is no longer on Techdirt’s front page. ]


The internal investigation reached the same conclusions…

In the article up top, Cushing linked to a copy of the Oct 10, 2017 Memorandum from SLCPD Chief Mike Brown to (former-) SLCPD Lieutenant James Tracy, “Notice of Decision – Internal Affairs Case # C17-0062 Demotion to Police Officer III”. That memorandum, on its first page, states:

Specifically, it is alleged that, on July 26, 2017, while serving as Watch Commander, you [Lt. James Tracy] ordered Det. Payne to arrest Ms. Wubbels . . .

That memorandum goes on to state (p.12):

[Y]ou [Lt. James Tracy] ordered Det. Payne to arrest Ms. Wubbels

Yesterday, Oct 26, 2017, the Deseret News, in a story by Pat Reavy, “Salt Lake officer appeals demotion for arrest of University Hospital nurse”, reported—

In his appeal, Tracy claims he never ordered Payne to arrest Wubbels, but rather told him to "consider arresting her."

Anonymous Coward says:

Followup: Alex Wubbels Settlement

At a press conference yesterday afternoon (Tue, Oct 31, 2017), Alex Wubbels and her attorney Karra Porter announced that they have settled with all “U.-related and Salt Lake City-related parties” regarding the July 26, 2017 incident.

“ ‘There will be no lawsuit’: Nurse reaches settlement with Salt Lake, University of Utah
by Pat Reavy, KSL, Oct 31, 2017

The University of Utah nurse at the center of a highly controversial arrest that was recorded on the officers’ body cameras has reached a $500,000 settlement with all parties involved. . . .

Utah nurse reaches $500,000 settlement in dispute over her arrest for blocking cop from drawing blood from patient”, by Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, Oct 31, 2017

Wubbels said Tuesday she hopes the disciplinary measures are upheld. “I will be very disappointed if they aren’t,” she said.

Steve says:

What is Justice?

After viewing the footage, it’s obvious that Payne’s actions were excessive and of poor judgement. But before determinating the consequences he faces in the aftermath, all circumstances and knowledge should be considered. Was there sufficient training provided to the officer by the corporation that employed him? We’re the policies and procedures understood and were they correct of law. It seems to be a common practice of some officers to infringe on the people’s civil liberties and constitutional rights, is this the training Officer Payne recieved? The amount of attention brought to this incident should be a moot issue, the issue is who should take accountability and what percentage of accountability belongs to all involved. Also, another question that needs answered is, “What punishment is just for the crime, misconduct, neglect, or ignorance that occurred during this incident?”

The accident the patient was involved in included a fatality. This requires an intensive investigation and attention to the smallest of detail. The patients blood needed to be drawn for this purpose, although Officer Payne went about this with the wrong attitude and used very poor judgement, it appears he was more concerned about the investigation than he was about the people’s rights he was violating.

There is good that can come from this entire incident. It should be used as a learning tool. Even though I believe it was an afterthought of the State DOT, the dividing cement barriers on the Box Elder County side of highway 89 are a good addition. There are some policies and procedures that have been amended, and hopefully officer’s will be better trained and educated. The Justice is being served.

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