The lawyer for Jeffery Payne, the police officer fired after being caught on video arresting a nurse, says he plans to appeal the decision he calls unfair. Attorney Greg Skordas says that Detective Payne would likely still be employed if body camera footage hadn't generated widespread attention online. He says his client would agree to be disciplined, but the decision to terminate him went beyond what's fair.
Detective Jeff Payne sparked outrage online after the release of bodycam footage which shows him roughly dragging away and handcuffing Alex Wubbels, a University Hospital nurse. She had refused to allow Payne to draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant during the July 26 incident.
On Tuesday, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown fired Payne and demoted Lt. James Tracy, who ordered the arrest.
An internal investigation by Salt Lake Police found that both officers violated several department policies during the incident.
Payne and Tracy were both placed on administrative leave following the surface of the video, which was shared widely on social media. Both Brown and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski have publicly apologized to Wubbels.
In a letter to Payne, Brown said the detective exhibited a “complete lack of judgement” by arresting Wubbels and called his actions inappropriate, unwarranted and unreasonable.
Brown said Wubbels’ arrest has adversely affected confidence in the department and affected relationships with health care providers.