Jeff Payne’s body camera has contributed to his professional demise, as he was fired on Tuesday from his second, part time job. Gold Cross Ambulance service said the police detective’s comments on July 26 reflected poorly on the company and “violated several company policies”. On that day, Payne assaulted and unlawfully arrested nurse Alex Wubbels at the University Of Utah Hospital. Just minutes before, she had refused to let him take a blood sample from an unconscious patient without a warrant.

Unbecoming behavior

Hospital officials have confirmed that police had asked for the sample, even though the patient was not a suspect in a wreck which killed another driver.

Wubbels gave a printout of the hospital’s policy for drawing blood to the officers, informing them that their request did not meet the criteria. Video from Payne’s body camera then shows Payne walking up to Wubbels, grabbing her and saying "Oh, please. We're done here. We're done. We're done." He then forced the nurse outside, while she screamed that she had done nothing wrong and asked why he was so angry. Wubbels was handcuffed and left in a police car for less than half an hour, before being released without charge.

On Tuesday, Gold Cross Ambulance President Mike Moffitt said Payne’s termination was as a result of his comments and actions. He lamented that the remarks were not reflective of his company’s philosophy and Payne could not continue working with them thereafter. Since the incident, Police Chief Mike Brown and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski have both apologized to Wubbels.

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Reflecting on the scenario, Wubbels said she felt scared and betrayed by the University and police, especially when all she was trying to do, was her job. While she has not ruled out taking legal action, Wubbels’ attorney has said her client wants to give everyone involved, the chance to do the right thing before proceeding to court.

New Hospital policy takes effect

Her untimely arrest triggered headlines worldwide with many condemning Payne’s use of force and others fearing for the safety of medical professionals. The incident sparked debate and on Monday, University of Utah officials revealed that a policy change had taken place, barring nurses from interacting with law enforcement agents. Chief nursing officer Margaret Pearce said the July incident was unfortunate and regrettable and she needs to ensure that it never ever happens again to any of her staff. From now on, interactions won't take place in patient care areas and law enforcement officers will have to seek guidance from highly trained health supervisors.

A previous protocol referred to by Wubbels, had been agreed upon by the University and Salt Lake City Police. However, officials say that when reminded of it, Payne seemed to be unaware. To ensure that does not transpire again, Monday’s unveiling of its new hospital protocol was done during a news conference, attended by hospital leadership and the University's police chief.