In a conversation with fellow officers, the Salt Lake City police detective who arrested a nurse when she followed hospital policy and refused to take blood from an unconscious patient commented that in the future he’d ”take good patients elsewhere.”
Detective Jeff Payne told another officer that he works a second job as a paramedic with Gold Cross Ambulance and brings patients to University Hospital, body camera footage obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune shows.
When the other officer tells Payne that the staff at the hospital probably won’t be very happy with him, Payne responds, ”I’ll bring them all the transients and take good patients elsewhere.”
At a different point in the body camera footage, another officer tells Payne: “I don’t think this arrest is going to stick.” The officer questions whether the actions of nurse Alex Wubbels were obstructing justice.
Payne wonders aloud on the video how the incident may affect his paramedic job.
It very well might, Payne’s boss told The Tribune on Friday.
Gold Cross President Mike Moffitt said the company was conducting an internal investigation into Payne’s conduct. The company was not aware of the incident prior to media reports Thursday, he said, adding that he was dismayed and surprised as he watched the videos.
“There is nothing in his work history, in his file, that is anywhere remotely similar to this,” Moffitt said.
He said Payne has been a punctual employee who pays attention to detail over about 30 years with the company, adding he was ”really steady, works hard, does a good job.”
“This is different behavior from what we’ve seen here at Gold Cross,” Moffitt said of Payne’s confrontation with the nurse.
As for Payne’s threat that he would take ”transients” to University Hospital as retaliation, Moffitt said he had directed his dispatchers to examine records of Payne’s ambulance transports in the past month. They found Payne had taken no patients to University Hospital during that time, ”so it doesn’t seem like he’s done anything inappropriate,” Moffitt said.
He added Gold Cross was ”sensitive to the needs of the homeless,” and worked to fairly distribute patients to various hospitals around the Salt Lake Valley.
Moffitt said for now, his longtime employee remains active, working a handful of shifts per week. But he said the internal investigation, expected to last a week, could result in a range of consequences for Payne, from a written reprimand to termination.
Payne went to the hospital to obtain a blood sample from 43-year-old William Gray, a reserve officer in the Rigby, Idaho, police department who suffered burns during a fiery crash July 26 in Cache County.
The University of Utah hospital has a policy not to take blood from an unconscious patient unless the person is under arrest, unless there is a warrant allowing the draw or unless the patient consents.
When Wubbels refused to go against hospital policy, Payne says, he “physically drug her out of the ER.”
The Unified Police Department is investigating the incident after footage drew concern from the public.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and police Chief Mike Brown apologized Friday for the officer’s conduct.