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Video Shows Utah Nurse Handcuffed After Refusing to Draw Patient’s Blood

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She took a few steps back and screamed, “Somebody help me!” as Officer Payne pushed her through two sets of doors out of the emergency room and outdoors, twisted her so she was partly facing a wall and placed her in handcuffs.

Excerpts from the video, which came to light at a news conference by Ms. Wubbels and her lawyer on Thursday, gained widespread attention.

Arrest of University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels Video by The Salt Lake Tribune

The video led to apologies from the mayor of Salt Lake City, Jackie Biskupski, and the police chief, Mike Brown, on Friday and an outpouring of support for Ms. Wubbels, 41. Investigations by the Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit and the city’s Civilian Review Board are also underway, the mayor said in a statement.

“These are officers of the peace,” Ms. Wubbels said in an interview on Friday. “There was nothing peaceful about this incident.”

The episode unfolded on July 26 as the Salt Lake City police were helping another police department in an investigation of a driver who had crashed into another vehicle while fleeing the police. The fleeing driver was killed, according to a report filed by Officer Payne, and the other driver was flown to Utah Hospital.

Officer Payne wrote that he was seeking to draw blood from the patient to check if he had “any chemical substances in his system at the time of the crash,” though it was not clear why.

He wrote that he spoke with Ms. Wubbels, who was the nurse in charge in the burn unit, and tried to explain the “exigent circumstances” of the request.

The confrontation intensified as they headed to the emergency room from the burn unit upstairs.

“I’m just being told what to do by my entire hospital,” she said, referring to her administrators.

Officer Payne responded, “And I’m being told what to do by my boss, and I’m going to do what my boss says.”

Officer Payne could not be reached on Friday. Chief Brown said in a statement on Friday that he was alarmed by the video.

“I want to be clear, we take this very seriously,” he said, adding, “Within 24 hours of this incident, Salt Lake City Police Department took steps to ensure this will never happen again.”

The chief said that Officer Payne had been suspended from the blood draw program, in which officers are trained as phlebotomists to take blood samples, and that a new policy had been put in place. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Officer Payne remained on duty with the Police Department.

Ms. Wubbels, a nurse at the hospital since 2009, said she was adhering to hospital policies and the law. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the police do not have the right to draw blood in drunken-driving investigations without a warrant.

“It wasn’t like she decided she was a constitutional scholar,” her lawyer, Karra J. Porter, said in an interview on Friday.

No charges were filed against Ms. Wubbels, who was in handcuffs for about 20 minutes before being released. Ms. Wubbels said she wanted to use the episode to educate medical professionals and the police and to “open a civic dialogue.”

University of Utah Health, which runs the hospital, supports Ms. Wubbels and is “proud of her decision to focus first and foremost on the care and well-being of her patient,” Kathy Wilets, a spokeswoman, said in an email. “She followed procedures and protocols in this matter and was acting in her patient’s best interest.”

Ms. Biskupski said that efforts to get the police to increase the use of de-escalation techniques have been successful but that “this incident is a troubling setback.”

Robert J. Louden, a retired chief hostage negotiator with the New York Police Department and a professor emeritus of criminal justice and homeland security at Georgian Court University in New Jersey, watched the video and said in an interview on Friday that Ms. Wubbels was an “absolute professional.”

Officer Payne was “100 percent not correct,” he said, adding, “It seems to me he’s in need of an attitude adjustment.”

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