Watch: Police violently arrest nurse who refuses to draw blood

A nurse was assaulted and illegally arrested by a Salt Lake City police detective for following a hospital policy.

Tzvi Lev ,

Police units
Police units

A Utah nurse was violently arrested by police when she refused to draw blood from an unconscious patient, citing hospital policy. Police bodycam footage of her arrest caused a national uproar, and the two police officers have been put on leave.

Police had brought in an unconscious patient, who was badly burned after he crashed his car fleeing police. Detective Jeff Payne wanted Alex Wubbels to draw blood in order to determine if the patient had drugs or alcohol in his system.

Wubbels balked, invoking hospital policy which does not allow nurses to take blood from a patient who is unconscious. "Three things that allow us [to take blood] is if you have an electronic warrant, patient consent, or patient under arrest. You have neither of this things," she tells the officers.

After 19 minutes of arguing, police lost their patience. "All right, we're done," Payne announced. "You're under arrest, we're going!" Wubbels shrieked in terror as police forcefully clamped handcuffs on her. "I've done nothing wrong! Why are you doing this?" she yelled.

Wubbels was later released without being charged.

The 19-minute video caused a sensation across the United States when it was released Saturday. National Nurses United, the country's largest nursing union, said the incident was "outrageous," and Salt Lake City Police said the Payne and the second officer were put on leave "pending the results of the investigation."

"I was alarmed by what I saw in the video with our officer and Ms. (Wubbels)," Salt Lake City police Chief Mike Brown said in a news conference Friday. "I am sad at the rift this has caused between law enforcement and the nurses we work so closely with."