SLCPD fires officer who arrested U of U Hospital nurse

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) –  The Salt Lake City Police Department fired the officer who arrested University of Utah Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels Tuesday.

Detective Jeff Payne, a 27 year veteran of the SLCPD, was terminated today with a 17 page letter from Chief Mike Brown but he might not be permanently gone.

After reviewing the body cam footage of the July 26th incident, Chief Brown fired Detective Payne citing the “…extremely discourteous, disrespectful, inappropriate, unreasonable, and unwarranted behavior you displayed in this incident.” The letter goes on to state: “…while it appears you are sorry for the results of your actions, I am unpersuaded you are remorseful for your actions themselves.”

At her attorney’s office, Nurse Wubbels claimed she was too upset to give her response to the firing.

“I currently don’t feel the emotional capacity to really speak to the allegations or the statement that Chief Brown put out,” Nurse Wubbels said.

Payne’s attorney Greg Skordas told ABC4 Utah News  the former detective’s reaction.

“Jeff was disappointed,” Skordas said. “He’s told us from day one ‘I just want my job back. I just want to be a police officer again’ and he’s told us from day one ‘I wish I could do things differently and I wish I could tell my side’ so yeah he’s devastated today. We’ve talked to him about his rights going forward now whether he wants to file an appeal and I believe that’s the next step.”

ABC4 Utah News brought up the plan to appeal to Wubbels’ attorney Karra Porter.

“I honestly struggle to understand how Detective Payne doesn’t think that his conduct warrants termination. I don’t get it,” Porter said. “If Detective Payne really believes this is not a fireable offense then I am glad that Detective Payne will not be out on the streets in a uniform tomorrow.”

Nurse Wubbels was able to comment on the worldwide attention her arrest has received.

“I think I owe it to the body camera footage to really tell the story of what happened,” she said. “Without that my story would never have had the impact that it has had.”

Porter indicated that she would file a lawsuit on Wubbels’ behalf “before the end of the month”.

The Watch Commander who was present during the arrest, Lieutenant James Tracy was demoted Tuesday to the rank of officer. There’s no word from him or his attorney whether he plans to appeal that demotion.

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