The Salt Lake City police detective, Jeff Payne, who was caught on video aggressively arresting a nurse who was trying to protect an unconscious patient has been fired. Additionally, his watch commander James Tracy was demoted from lieutenant to officer, according to the Washington Post.
The actions were taken after internal review by the Salt Lake City Police Department was conducted. That review concluded that Payne and Tracey violated department policy.
“I have lost faith and confidence in your ability to continue to serve as a member of the Salt Lake City Police Department,” Chief Mike Brown stated in a termination letter to Payne. That letter was published by the Deseret News. “I am deeply troubled by your lack of sound, professional judgment and your discourteous, disrespectful and unwarranted behavior, which unnecessarily escalated a situation that could and should have been resolved in a manner far different from the course of action you chose to pursue.”
Payne worked for the police department for 27 years. Both he and Tracy are expected to appeal the decision.
“I do think that Salt Lake City did a fair job of doing the investigation, and I think that their findings are, by and large, accurate,” Panye’s lawyer Greg Skordas, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “But I think the chief reacted to a lot of public pressure and scrutiny in making a decision that doesn’t fit the conduct.”
In July, Payne arrested nurse Alex Wubbels after she explained that she could not take blood from an unconscious patient unless the patient has been arrested, has given previous consent, or if there is a warrant. Payne acknowledged that none of those situations were the case, but persisted with threats to penalize Wubbels if she did not cooperate. The incident was caught on cell phone video. In it, Wubbels dials her boss, who she puts on speakerphone. Her boss tried to explain to Payne that Wubbels cannot take blood from the patient. Payne reacted by aggressively arresting the nurse. The video of the arrest went viral, sparking outrage.
The patient in question had been injured in car accident, after police were engaged in a high-speed chase, according to the New Yorker. The chase left another driver dead. Police were looking to see if the injured driver had any illegal substances in their system at the time.