A Salt Lake City police officer has been put on paid leave after he was filmed arresting and roughing up a nurse at a hospital for refusing to allow blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient.
Nurse Alex Wubbels said she was frightened when the police officer handcuffed and dragged her screaming from the hospital in July.
After Wubbels and her lawyers released the dramatic footage of the arrest in the state of Utah, prosecutors called for a criminal investigation and Salt Lake City police put Detective Jeff Payne on paid leave on Friday.
In a tweet, the police department said another “employee” who was involved was also on administrative leave pending investigation.
“This cop bullied me. He bullied me to the utmost extreme,” Wubbels said in an interview with The Associated Press news agency. “And nobody stood in his way.”
The Salt Lake City police chief and mayor apologised and changed department policies in line with the guidance Wubbels was following in the July 26 incident.
Wubbels said she adhered to her training and hospital protocols to protect the rights of a patient who could not speak for himself.
The video has gone viral, with many on social media once again raising questions about police brutality in the United States.
Payne wrote in a police report that he grabbed Wubbels and took her outside to avoid causing a “scene” in the emergency room.
He said his boss, a lieutenant whose actions also were being reviewed, told him to arrest Wubbels if she kept interfering.
The detective left Wubbels in a police car for 20 minutes before realising that blood had already been drawn as part of treatment, said her lawyer, Karra Porter. Wubbels was not charged.
The hospital said it is proud of the way Wubbels handled the situation.
The patient was a victim in a car crash and Payne wanted the blood sample to show he had done nothing wrong, according to the officer’s written report.
The patient, William Gray, is a reserve police officer in Rigby, Idaho, according to the city’s police. They thanked Wubbels for protecting his rights.
Gray is a semi-truck driver and was on the road when a pick-up truck fleeing from authorities slammed into him and his truck burst into flames, police reports say.