Utah nurse unlawfully arrested

Columnist Katie Haga 

Columnist Katie Haga 

Police officers have always been the people we turn to when we are in danger or in need of assistance, but over the years they have made a bad name for themselves. 

Instead of being individuals we trust and respect, we now fear them and the power they claim to have. 

Americans have become familiarized with the term “police brutality” and sadly it is no longer surprising when it makes headlines. 

However, the latest news story involving police brutality has left many shocked. 

According to a study conducted by Harvard economics professor Roland G. Fryer Jr., Black people are 17 percent more likely to receive excessive force from an officer. 

However, a video that has recently surfaced from July shows a police officer using excessive force on a white woman who was a nurse, a rare sighting amongst videos involving police brutality. The footage shows the officer forcefully dragging the woman out of the Utah hospital and arresting her for refusing to allow police to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient. 

When the video surfaced it immediately went viral and received a ton of backlash from those who viewed it. Viewers witnessed the nurse screaming and crying as she was hauled from the hospital. 

Imagine how terrifying it would be to be dragged out by an officer in your place of work all because you were obeying the laws that must be followed for your position. 

With the reputation police officers have set for themselves it is expected for people to react in that manner. Many are terrified that they could potentially lose their lives at the expense of officers who think they have a plethora of power when in reality they do not. 

After the footage went viral, the officer involved, Jeff Payne, was fired from his part-time job as a paramedic, according to the Associated Press. 

Although the Salt Lake City police department has received an immense amount of criticization after the officer’s body camera footage was released, the officer at fault was not fired. 

Payne received a simple slap on the wrist and was put on paid leave, even though he used unwarranted force, wrongfully accused and arrested the nurse, Alex Wubbles. 

Despite the unnecessary arrest, Wubbles was not charged with any crimes. 

How are we supposed to trust those who have been appointed to protect and serve us when they only receive a slap-on-the-wrist punishment for their wrongful actions? The justice system is corrupt in many ways but when officers aren’t punished correctly for the things they’ve done it makes it difficult for citizens to trust them. 

During an interview with the morning news show Today, Alex Wubbles states, “I’m not here to police the police. The police need to do that if they’re going to regain any kind of trust by me or, I think, the public.” 

She then discusses the amount of support she has received from nurses and other people across the country. 

Many admired how she stood her ground and put her well-being at risk to preserve hospital policy and protect the privacy of a patient. 

According to The New York Times, a new policy has been enacted since the uncalled for arrest. 

The chief nursing officer at the University of Utah hospital system, Margaret Pearce, put into effect the policy which no longer allows nurses to deal directly with law enforcement. 

Instead, officers must check in at the front desk and communicate with a supervisor who is trained in hospital policy and the law. 

After this incident, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that officers must have a warrant in order to draw blood from a patient. 

In interviews, according to The New York Times, Ms. Wubbles has said that she hopes the episode would create a productive discussion and because of her heroism, it has.