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Monday
Sep042017

Utah nurse who was arrested says officer was on a 'war path'

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse who was arrested for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient in July, recounted to ABC News how she still is "not safe" since returning to work and believes the cop who arrested her was on a "warpath."

The police body cam footage from the July 26 incident instantly sparked a national outcry when it was released last week.

In the video, Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne is seen squaring off against Wubbels, who was working the night shift on the burn unit at Utah University Hospital. That night a man named William Gray was brought into the hospital after suffering severe injuries from a car crash.

Wubbels said she tried explaining to Payne that she wouldn't allow Gray's blood to be drawn unless he was under arrest or if there was a police warrant.

Moreover, when Wubbels defended the hospital's policy, buttressed by a 2016 Supreme Court ruling citing that warrantless blood draws are a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment, she was rebuffed.

“I either go away with blood in vials or body in tow. That’s my only choices. I’m going to follow my boss’ instructions," Payne says in the video.

"I just said, 'Look, I'm sorry, we can't let you do this at this time,'" Wubbels told ABC News in an interview where she was joined by her attorney Karra Porter. "And [Payne] just got up and said, 'You're not sorry!'"

Wubbels, a former alpine skier who competed in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, then claimed the cop "jeopardized" her safety.

"Right then he was on this war path," she said.

In the video, Payne is heard declaring, "We're done!" and Wubbels wails as she's dragged outside of the hospital in handcuffs.

"I think I was able to keep my cool pretty well, because I knew I was in a tough situation," she said, adding that she kept calling Payne "sir" as she was ushered downstairs of the hospital.

Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown said last week that he "was alarmed by what I saw in the video with our officer." He said Payne and his supervisor have been put on paid administrative leave.

Both Wubbels and Payne said they were simply following orders.

The video was made public because Wubbels said she felt a duty to "empower" nurses near and far of the potential malfeasance or obfuscation that can occur without evidence.

"I wanted the rest of the nurses in the state I work in, in Utah, to know that this could happen," she said.

She also is attempting to directly inform hospitals and police agencies of better ways to deescalate a situation with health care workers.

The video, she said, shows bluntly "what not to do."

But for Wubbels, the video itself is almost an afterthought.

"You don't need to see the video to know that something went wrong," she said.

She believes that police must work in concert with nurses and doctors and that Payne broke that unspoken bond.

"We're supposed to be on the same team and that is to help provide a safe and secure situation for those that can't provide it for themselves," she said. "And [police] are supposed to be a source of help, not the source that tears that down."

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