Detective Jeff Payne of the Salt Lake City Police Department committed the terrible folly of attempting to violate the civil rights of an unconscious hospital patient and actually violating the rights of a nurse who stopped him from doing so. He compounded this stupidity by doing these things while body cams of nearby police officers were running. Why he would do such a thing is open to conjecture and will no doubt come out in the inevitable trial. However, Reason Magazine gives a pretty good account of what went on, and the video below captures the action.

It started with a police chase

The patient in question was William Gray, a resident of Idaho, who was driving a semi truck when a man named Marco Torres struck him head on. Torres was on the run in a high-speed police chase when he turned into oncoming traffic and smashed into the truck Grey was driving. Torre was killed instantly, and Gray sustained terrible injuries.

The illegal arrest of Nurse Alex Wubbels

The next part of the story took place when Detective Payne demanded that Nurse Alex Wubbels draw blood from the unconscious Gray and give him the sample. Nurse Wubbels, under the direction of her supervisor, presented Payne with a form that describes the circumstances in which he could receive a blood sample.

Either Gray had to be conscious and give his consent, or the police would have to have a warrant, neither of which was the Case. Indeed, Gray was not suspected of a crime and was an innocent victim of a high-speed police chase gone wrong.

Nevertheless, on the orders of his watch commander, Lt. James Tracy, Payne arrested Wubbels on the charge of interfering with a police officer.

The arrest and the charge were both ludicrous, and Wubbels was eventually released at the hospital without any charges being filed. Still, some damage has been done.

What happens now?

As of this writing, Detective Payne is still on active duty but has been taken off the team that collects blood evidence. It seems, however, to a layperson’s untrained eye that he ought to be suspended entirely, along with Lt.

Tracy if he actually gave the order to arrest Wubbels.

As to why Payne wanted to draw the blood of an Innocent Man, it is possible that he was fishing for something that would cover the officers in the high-speed chase. Questions always arise when innocent bystanders are injured or killed in these situations. If it could be proven that Gray was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the story could have been spun to make the collision partly his own fault. Now, a Police Department has a problem with a blatant abuse of authority and a violation of civil rights caught on camera.