A Utah nurse who refused to give an unconscious patient's blood to police — and then was handcuffed and carried into a patrol car in an escalating incident — held an emotional news conference Thursday demanding better training by law enforcement.
"I just feel betrayed, I feel angry, I feel a lot of things," said Alex Wubbels, a nurse at the University of Utah Hospital and a former Olympic athlete, as she wiped away tears.
"And I am still confused. I'm a health care worker," she added. "The only job I have is to keep my patients safe."
Late Friday morning, the Salt Lake City mayor and police chief held a press conference in which the mayor said she apologized to Wubbels. What the officer did was wrong, both she and the chief said.
She, and the police chief also posted statements on the Salt Lake City Police Facebook page calling the incident, "completely unacceptable."
In the body cam video, which was recently released by police of the July 26 incident, the officer is shown making the arrest, dragging Wubbels outside and holding her against a wall to place her in handcuffs.
The nurse can be heard shouting in the video, "This is not OK" and that she has done nothing wrong.
Before the arrest, Wubbels can be seen calmly explaining to Salt Lake detective Jeff Payne that she couldn't draw blood on a patient who had been injured in a car accident. She told the officer a patient was required to give consent for a blood sample or be under arrest.
The nurse says officers did not have a warrant or meet any of the mandatory criteria needed for the taking blood.
"A blood draw, it just gets thrown around there like it's some simple thing," Wubbels said. "But blood is your blood. That's your property."
Sgt. Brandon Shearer, of the Salt Lake City Police Department, called the video shocking.
"It was alarming,” he said. “Immediately after seeing the video, they started an internal affairs investigation to look into what happened. We also looked at our policies and procedures to see if maybe there was something that needed to be done."
The nurse was released from the cuffs shortly after the altercation, and was never charged with a crime.
She has not filed any civil action against the police agencies involved, but is calling for better training of officers.
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