On Friday, the video of a Utah police officer violently dragging the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital, Alex Wubbels, out of her unit and into a police car went viral. The identity of the unconscious patient whose rights Wubbels was defending, it turns out, is a reserve police officer from the Rigby Police Department in Idaho.
In a press release, the Rigby Police Department identifies the unconscious patient as Officer William Gray and praises the hospital staff for their “watchful, professional, and competent care.” The statement also goes on to commend Wubbels specifically for “standing firm, and protecting Officer Gray’s rights as a patient and victim.”
“Protecting the rights of others is truly a heroic act,” the statement added.
The detective responsible for dragging Wubbels out of her unit, Jeff Payne, had been attempting to collect blood from the unconscious officer. Wubbels correctly insisted that, to do so, Payne needed a warrant, consent from the victim, or for the victim to be under arrest, none of which was the case. When Wubbels’ supervisor, who was on the phone, corroborated her rationale, Payne snapped, manhandled the nurse, placed her under arrest and accused her of obstructing justice.
Both Salt Lake City’s mayor and police chief have publicly apologized to Wubbels.
While Detective Payne may have felt entitled to blood that he was constitutionally barred from collecting, another police officer can now thank this heroic nurse for protecting his rights from a decidedly corrupt and overreaching officer.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.