The Salt Lake City Police Department conducted two separate investigations of the arrest of nurse Alex Wubbels, RN, and the results echo the reactions of many who have seen the videos.
Detective Jeff Payne’s actions were “inappropriate, unreasonable, unwarranted, disrespectful,” according to a report from the department’s internal affairs division. Payne and his supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, violated numerous department policies and ethics rules, investigators found.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced the findings of that investigation and another by the city’s independent Police Civilian Review Board, which reached similar conclusions. A criminal investigation by the Unified Police Department, the FBI, and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office continues.
The internal affairs investigation found that 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.
Payne’s conduct was “inappropriate, unreasonable, unwarranted, discourteous, disrespectful, and has brought significant disrepute on both you as a police officer and on the department as a whole,” according to the report.
“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,” the report adds.
Similar criticism was aimed at Tracy, with the report saying his behavior was “discourteous and damages the positive working relationships the department has worked hard to establish with the hospital and other healthcare providers.”
Neither Tracy nor Payne fully understood current blood draw laws or hospital policies, and unlike the nurse they arrested, did not seek legal clarification from the department’s attorneys or superiors, the Civilian Review Board report says. It also notes that Payne clearly “lost control of his emotions” and self-control, yet none of the Salt Lake City or University of Utah law enforcement officers intervened.
The mayor said she did not know of the incident until Wubbels released the policy bodycam video obtained by her attorney and made public statements about her experience. Salt Lake City police claim the internal affairs investigation began within 24 hours of the incident, but the officers were not placed on leave until the day after the video was released months later.