Detective Jeff Payne, who made headlines earlier this year when he arrested a nurse without cause, has been fired from the Salt Lake City Police Department. Payne was fired from his part-time position as a Gold Cross Ambulance paramedic in September.
Chief Mike Brown decided to terminate Payne’s employment after a lengthy internal investigation. The investigation began after Detective Payne ordered charge nurse Alex Wubbels to draw blood from a comatose victim. Without a warrant or providing the necessary requirements to forgo the patient’s consent, Wubbels could not legally draw the patients blood. Under a new policy agreed upon by both the Salt Lake City Police Department and the hospital, “implied consent” was no longer valid. She explained the situation to Detective Payne who grew impatient and arrested Wubbels. The entire exchange was captured in the video below.
“You demonstrated extremely poor professional judgment (especially for an officer with 27 years of experience), which calls into question your ability to effectively serve the public and the department,” Brown wrote in a disciplinary letter that was reported by ABC News. The disciplinary letter was released to the media following a public records request. In the letter, Brown described Payne’s conduct as “inappropriate, unreasonable, unwarranted, discourteous, disrespectful” and bringing “significant disrepute” to the SLCPD.
Greg Skordas, Payne’s attorney, says his client plans to appeal. Skordas contests that Payne was only fired because his conduct was captured on a body camera. Wubbel’s attorney Karra Porter says the camera footage was essential in bringing Payne to justice. “Without the body camera footage, it would have been a she-said, they-said,” Porter said. “Alex feels very strongly that her story would have never been told if it weren’t for the body camera footage.”
In 2013 Payne was reprimanded after an internal-affairs investigation concluded he had “persistently and severely” sexually harassed a female co-worker.
Lt. James Tracy, Payne’s supervising officer, was demoted to officer for his role in the assault. According to Brown, Tracy made and “impulsive decision” when ordering Payne to arrest Wubbels without reviewing the facts or current laws. “Your lack of judgment and leadership in this matter is unacceptable, and as a result, I no longer believe that you can retain a leadership position in the department,” Brown said of Tracy.
Tracy and Payne have five days to submit an appeal to Chief Brown.