Earlier this summer, a Utah nurse made national news when she refused to comply with what she saw as an illegal order from a police officer. Alex Wubbels was ordered to draw blood from an unconscious patient and refused in accordance with state and federal law – in addition to hospital policy.
In response to her refusal, the Salt Lake City police officer handcuffed Wubbels and the altercation was caught on video. When the tape was released it caused an uproar across the political spectrum and news media. It seemed everyone agreed that the officer was in the wrong.
Nurse wins major settlement from Salt Lake City police
The city of Salt Lake seems to have come to the same conclusion as legal experts cited by the media. Wubbels was following the letter of the law and was correct to refuse to draw blood without a warrant or consent.
The arresting officer was initially suspended and eventually fired by the department. In addition, the city offered a $500,000 settlement to Alex Wubbels which she has accepted. The settlement includes provisions that prevent any future litigation.
Wubbels will reportedly be donating a portion of her share of the settlement to programs designed to prevent violence against nurses.
Body cameras are responsible for this entire story
Without the initial video that was recorded by another police officer’s body camera, the general public never would have known about this event. Perhaps the altercation would have been picked up by local media, but it never would have caused such a scandal.
The Salt Lake City police department might regret their body camera policy, but they got off easy considering how much worse it could have been.
The officer responsible could have committed a much more serious crime down the line. Furthermore, a $500,000 settlement is considerably less than that offered to other victims of police brutality.
The attempted arrest of Alex Wubbels proves the worth of body camera programs.
Watch the full video of nurse Alex Wubbels being put in handcuffs below: