Nurse Alex Wubbels Reaches Settlement Months After Controversial Arrest
The Utah nurse who was at the center of a controversial arrest—has reached a settlement months later.
Alex Wubbels, an employee at the University of Utah received a $500,000 payoff, NBC affiliate KFOR reported.
Wubbels, speaking outside the Salt Lake City Police Department while standing next to her attorney Karra Porter, also announced that she will use part of the money to launch a new initiative. The program aims to make body camera videos more accessible in Utah.
“I am not in the business of setting anyone up for failure. I want us to be successful in moving forward. And I think this is a small step we can provide to enable that potential success if we are going to start asking the police departments to have body cameras,” Wubbels said.
Matthew Rojas, the spokesman for Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski, said both the city and the university agreed to pay $250,000 each, KFOR reported.
The nurse went on to say that “it’s shocking” the current police force do not all have body cameras in today’s time.
“We all deserve to know the truth. And the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage. And that’s what happened in my case. No matter how truthful I was in telling my story, it was nothing compared to what people saw and the visceral reaction people experienced when watching the footage,” she told reporters.
Wubbels’s July 26 arrest was widely publicized. A Salt Lake detective Jeff Payne, was sent to University hospital to collect blood from a man injured in a crash that killed the driver who caused it. However, Wubbels refused to tell Payne where the patient was or allow him to draw blood, citing hospital policy that was already agreed upon by the police department.
Footage shows the nurse screaming as the detective, with direction from his supervisor that day, Lt. James Tracy, physically pushing her out of the emergency room and held her against a wall while handcuffing her.
The video sparked outrage across the nation and prompted Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown to personally apologize to Wubbels over how she was treated.
Wubbels and her attorney never filed a civil lawsuit, instead, she reached a settlement with all “U.-related and Salt Lake City-related parties” who would have potentially been named if a lawsuit had been filed.
“There will be no legal lawsuit. This part of this is over. We’re hoping the discussion about body cameras continues,” Porter told reporters.
“Salt Lake City has been focused first and foremost on ensuring policies and procedures are changed so things like this don’t happen again, and we are glad we could come to a resolution with nurse Wubbles,” Rojas said.
When the arrest video went public, Porter said Wubbels had several goals: including changes to policy on how police interact with nurses; accountability by the officers involved; starting a public discussion on the importance of body camera video; compensation; and helping others, KFOR reported.
“Thanks to Alex, there will be more transparency as body cam footage becomes more readily available in Utah,” Porter said.
While Wubbels said she was grateful for how Salt Lake City responded to her arrest and the settlement, she admits she still becomes emotional when looking back.
“This landed in my lap. This is not something I sought out. I didn’t seek out the last four months,” she told reporters. “I’m incredibly humbled by change that’s happened.”
“This is very emotional,” Wubbels added, “This is an emotional situation. … I’m still processing this. I mean, this is something I never expected to happen. But I’m also honored by the weight of it and honored to be the one to help make progress in our society at large.”
Porter said body cameras are also important for protecting officers too and praised the good officers in the country.
“I literally park where this incident happened. I walk, in the dark, every night to my work, back and forth to my car where this incident happened,” Wubbels said, adding the police “did a really good thing today. And that’s a highlight for what comes out when good cops do good work.”
Payne was fired from the police department and Tracy was demoted to the rank of officer, KFOR reported. Both men have since appealed their disciplines, their appeals were pending as of Tuesday.