Utah police officer lost control when he arrested nurse, review board finds

Nurse Alex Wubbels is arrested by a Salt Lake City police officer.
(Associated Press)

A Utah police chief will decide the punishment for a detective caught on video dragging a nurse from a hospital and handcuffing her after a police review board found that he had lost control.

Salt Lake City Det. Jeff Payne became upset during a long wait to draw blood from a patient, and his frustration spilled over when nurse Alex Wubbels, based on hospital policy, refused to draw blood, a report from the independent Police Civilian Review Board said.

“His verbal actions were loud, aggressive and overly mission-driven,” said the report, released Wednesday. It added that Payne “very clearly lost control of his emotions.”

That report and another from Salt Lake City Police Department internal affairs investigators will be considered by Police Chief Mike Brown as he weighs possible punishment, which could include firing.


Payne’s lawyer, Greg Skordas, said Thursday the board’s conclusions were speculation.

“When I look at a police report, I think just the facts. You don’t need that kind of stuff,” he said.

Payne will go before the police chief on Sept. 25 to give his side of the story.

Payne’s only other black mark in his 27-year tenure on the Salt Lake City police force was a written reprimand from 2013, Skordas said.

The report also faults supervisor Lt. James Tracy, who told Payne to arrest the nurse if she didn’t allow the blood draw, for not seeking legal advice on drawing blood from a car crash victim without a warrant or formal consent.

Police have since said Wubbels was right, and have changed department policy.

Tracy’s attorney, Ed Brass, didn’t have immediate comment, saying he hadn’t been provided a copy of the report.

Salt Lake City police opened an internal investigation a day after the July 26 arrest. Payne and Tracy were put on paid administrative leave after widespread attention followed the release of the body-camera video by Wubbels and her lawyer on Aug. 31.


The civilian review board report said that a third unnamed officer missed a chance to step in and calm things down.

Salt Lake City police spokeswoman Christina Judd said the department trained officers on how to de-escalate situations rather than using force.