Utah activists call for firing of officer who arrested nurse

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Utah activists gathered at the Public Safety Building in Salt Lake City on Saturday and called for the officer who arrested a University of Utah nurse to be fired.
Video of Burn Unit nurse Alex Wubbles, arrested while on duty after refusing to fulfill Salt Lake City Police Officer Jeff Payne's blood draw request, went viral and sparked outrage nationwide.
 
"Police officers should not be using their positions of authority to bully people -- to throw their weight around just so that they can get what they want in an immediate situation," Dave Newlin with Utah Against Police Brutality told ABC4's Brittany Johnson.
 
Payne and another officer on the scene have been placed on administrative leave. Newlin is one of the many activists at the rally who say that's not enough.
 

 
"Ideally they'd be fired too," Newlin said when asked what should happen to the other officers on the scene at the time. "All of these people had the opportunity and position of power to say no to this officer in a situation that was obviously  illegal, obviously an act of brutality and obviously wrong."
 
The attorney for Wubbles was invited by Utah Against Police Brutality to speak at the rally. She is not affiliated with the group. While some are calling for the officers involved to be fired, Wubbles wants to use what happened to her as a teachable moment, instead.
 
"She wants to bring to everyone's attention that these events happen. They often happen when there's no body cam footage. She wants to help educate nurses about these risks," said Karra Porter, the attorney representing Wubbles. "As Alex herself puts it, for the police to regain trust, they have to police themselves and not have it forced on them."
 
The incident happened on July 26th, but Wubbles didn't come to the decision to release the body cam footage until Thursday.
 
"It took Alex a long time to heal," replied Porter when asked why Wubbles took this long to release the video. "This was a very traumatic event and also she wanted to be thorough. We wanted to get all the footage, we wanted to make sure we had all the information, and then last we wanted to meet with all the parties involved."
 
Porter explained that in addition to meeting with city officials, she has been meeting with University of Utah Police, who she called for protection during the July 26th incident. Porter said during the meeting on Tuesday, UofU Police didn't have any problems about how they handled the situation and believe they didn't do anything wrong. Porter said Wubbles became concerned about their position, and that last meeting helped her make the decision to release the video.
 
Wubbles and her attorney wants there to be a mandate requiring every police officer in Utah to have body cameras. 
 
"One thing that I think would help enormously would be if there were more body cams so people could see for themselves what happened during a particular situation," Porter said.
 
Porter wants to make it clear that although Wubbles isn't receiving support from the University of Utah Police Department, she has received an overwhelming amount of support from the Salt Lake City Police Department, city officials and her co-workers and boss.

 


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