Utah Cops Faulted in Nurse’s Arrest; Mayor Apologizes

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An internal affairs investigation into two Salt Lake City police officers involved in the arrest of a University Hospital nurse has found several policies were violated during the July 26 confrontation, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced the investigation findings Wednesday. Detective Jeff Payne and his watch commander, Lt. James Tracy, have 20 days to respond. “The events of July 26 have certainly shaken our community,” said an apologetic Biskupski. “They have strained the trust we have built between the public and the police department. Many of us have been left wondering how this could possibly have been happened.”

Payne arrested nurse Alex Wubbels — leaving her in his hot patrol car for about 20 minutes — after she refused to allow him to obtain a blood sample from an unconscious patient injured in a fiery crash. The department put them on leave Sept. 1, after Wubbels’ attorney released police body camera footage of the arrest. Reports obtained by the Tribune through a public records request, found both officers violated five policies: conduct unbecoming of an officer; courtesy in public contacts; a policy that states misdemeanor citations should be used instead of arrest “whenever possible;” violation of the department’s law enforcement code of ethics; and a city-mandated standards of conduct policy. Investigators told Payne that, “You demonstrated extremely poor professional judgment (especially for an officer with 27 years of experience), which calls into question your ability to effectively serve the public and the Department in a manner that inspires the requisite trust, respect, and confidence.”

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