Authorities say a Utah police officer who was caught on video roughly handcuffing a nurse because she refused to allow a blood draw has been fired.
A Salt Lake City Police spokesman said Chief Mike Brown made the decision Tuesday following an investigation into Detective Jeff Payne, who made the arrest that became a flashpoint in the ongoing national conversation about police use of force.
Body-camera video showed nurse Alex Wubbels explaining hospital policy required a warrant or formal consent to draw blood from the patient injured in a July 26 car crash. Payne had neither but insisted. The dispute ended with him dragging her outside as she screamed she had done nothing wrong.
Police later apologized and changed their policies.
The patient at the center of the dramatic altercation was later identified as an officer for the Rigby Police Department in eastern Idaho.
Payne's lawyer, Greg Skordas, has pointed to the officer's decorated 27-year history and questioned whether his behavior warranted termination.
Skordas said Tuesday that Payne would appeal the decision, and that he would likely still be employed if body-camera footage hadn't generated widespread attention online. He says Payne would agree to be disciplined, but the decision to terminate him went beyond what's fair.
COMMENTARY: I am sad to say it was right and proper for this officer to be fired. After all the years he served, he KNEW BETTER than to ask what he asked for, and KNEW BETTER than to arrest the nurse for refusing his request.
We The People vest in our Police, an enormous amount of power: the power of arrest. We allow them to deprive our fellow itizens of their freedom under certain, specific circumstances. The officer well knew those circumstances and he crossed the line.
If this was merely a mistake, then discipline would be warranted. However, it looked to me (my personal opinion) that this was no mistake, it was an attempt to unlawfully exercise raw power simply because he thought he could get away with it.
In my view, we do not want people like that on a police force.