On ‘TODAY,’ nurse Alex Wubbels again says police need to police themselves to regain trust

‘He was aggressive from the beginning,’ she says of a Salt Lake City detective.

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Still photo taken from previously undisclosed video of a Salt Lake City police officer assaulting and arresting University of Utah Hospital on-duty nurse Alex Wubbels for following her hospital’s policy on blood draws from an unconscious victim.

Alex Wubbels, the University Hospital nurse whose arrest by a Salt Lake City police detective over refusing to draw a patient’s blood caused nationwide criticism last week, on Monday again refused to say what should happen to the police officer. 

“I’m not here to police the police,” Wubbels told NBC‘s ”TODAY” show in a broadcast Monday morning. ”The police need to do that if they’re going to regain any kind of trust by me or the public.”

Wubbels was also interviewed on CNN’s ”New Day” on Monday, saying she was “scared to death” as the arrest was taking place. 

On July 26, Salt Lake City police Detective Jeff Payne wanted Wubbels to draw the blood of 43-year-old William Gray, who was unconscious after being involved in a fiery crash earlier in the day in Logan. Wubbels refused, citing hospital policy against drawing the blood of someone without that patient’s consent or without a warrant for arrest. On Thursday, body camera video was released of Payne shouting at Wubbels and handcuffing and arresting her on suspicion of obstructing justice. Police released her after about 20 minutes in custody. 

Wubbels told ”TODAY” much of what she told Salt Lake City’s KUTV on Friday. She did not say what should happen to Payne and instead focused on how police expect nurses to do what they say. 

The video “resonates with people all over,” she said. 

Wubbels’ attorney Karra Porter appeared with her Monday on ”TODAY.” While a lawsuit is not out of the question, Porter said, her client mostly wants changes so no other nurses are arrested

“Most people that this happens to don’t have this kind of evidence,” Porter said. 

On CNN, Wubbels said since the encounter she’s gradually realized she feels betrayed not only by Salt Lake City police — but also by the hospital’s security. The television host asked her why.

“Because I called them,” Wubbels said of security. “I went down into the emergency department to get help, to have someone protect me, because I felt unsafe from Officer Payne from the beginning.

“He was aggressive from the beginning,” she added. “As a nurse, it’s my job to assess a situation, to assess a patient. And my assessment skills led me to believe Officer Payne was already agitated. He had already stormed off in disapproval when I had originally told him he couldn’t do this, up on [the burn unit] itself.”

On ”TODAY,” Wubbels similarly took the university’s security and police force to task. She said while her conversations with Salt Lake City officials since the incident “were progressive,” she didn’t hear much concern when she first brought the issue to U. law enforcement officials. 

At a news conference Monday, University Hospital leaders said they had changed policies related to police blood draws since Wubbels’ arrest in an attempt to avoid a similar incident. And U. Police Chief Dale Brophy took an apologetic tone, saying he didn’t grasp the severity of the situation until he saw the body camera video. 

Payne and a second Salt Lake City police officer are on administrative leave pending a review.