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Utah nurse roughed up by police officer scores a big payday in settlement

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Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse who was forcibly arrested in July after refusing to draw a patient's blood without consent, a police warrant, or probable cause, received a large settlement from Salt Lake City and the University of Utah on Tuesday.

What's the history with this case?

  • Wubbels in July refused to draw the blood of an unconscious patient, who was brought in to the hospital as an accident victim, without a warrant.
  • Detective Jeff Payne of the Salt Lake City Police Department arrested Wubbels for not complying with his orders, restrained her, and placed her in a patrol vehicle. Wubbels was later released without being charged.
  • Video of the incident was captured on bodycam footage of another officer who was present.
  • The incident was widely publicized, and as a result, Payne — also a police phlebotomist — was suspended from the city police department's blood-draw unit with pay. He was later put on administrative leave pending investigation.
  • Additionally, Payne was fired from his second job as an ambulance driver.
  • Salt Lake County district attorney Sim Gill later confirmed that he opened a criminal investigation into the incident.
  • As a result of the incident, the University of Utah Hospital changed its policies regarding police presence in patient care areas.
  • The FBI began looking into the incident, investigating whether or not Wubbels was subjected to a violation of her civil rights.
  • Payne was fired from the police department in October after an internal investigation found he had violated departmental policies.

How much did Wubbels receive?

Wubbels settled for $500,000.

According to ABC News, Wubbels plans to use a portion of her settlement to fund legal assistance for those trying to obtain bodycam footage.

Wubbels — who is still employed at the University of Utah Hospital — said, "We all deserve to know the truth, and the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage, and that's what happened in my case. No matter how truthful I was in telling my story, it was nothing compared to what people saw and the visceral reaction people experienced when watching the footage of the experience I went through."

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