Salt Lake County DA requests FBI assistance in Nurse Alex Wubbels investigation

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has requested the FBI's assistance in the investigation into the arrest of a Utah nurse who refused to allow a blood draw from an unconscious patient without following proper procedure.

In a statement released Thursday, Gill said his office officially requested the FBI investigate: "any and all individuals involved in the chain of conduct arising from the incident at the University of Utah Hospital on July 26, 2017 for any Civil Rights Violations under the color of authority."

Gill said he requested the FBI's help due to events beyond a mere criminal investigation.

“There continue to be issues that go beyond merely a criminal investigation, and, in an effort to address those concerns, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has formally asked for assistance from our Federal law enforcement partners to fully vet issues only they can investigate,” Gill stated. “The decision for this was arrived over the Labor Day weekend and a formal letter requesting this assistance was sent out Sept. 6, 2017."

The FBI in Salt Lake City sent Fox 13 this statement Thursday: "The FBI opened a civil rights/color of law review of the matter when we found out about it in the media.  Sim Gill has also asked for our assistance which we will provide."

An FBI spokesperson said a review does not necessarily mean a criminal investigation will be opened.

The incident attracted nationwide attention and calls for action after videos of the arrest were released.  In the video, Wubbels shows Det. Jeff Payne a print out of the existing policy her hospital and the department had agreed to, which only allows blood draws from a patient who gives consent, who is under arrest, or if police obtain a warrant.

A supervisor speaking via speaker phone tells the officer that Wubbels is only the messenger and he is making a mistake "threatening a nurse", at which point Payne says "we're done" and arrests Wubbels, dragging her outside and pushing her against a wall before handcuffing her and taking her to a patrol car.

The statement from the DA's office noted they have received numerous requests for communication concerning the incident, and they ask that the community be patient.

"We assure them that this issue is of the utmost concern for us and we are committed to assuring a thorough, fair gathering and review of evidence, facts and issues," the statement concludes.

Gill opened a criminal investigation into the arrest earlier this month.

"This is a video tape that has stirred a lot of emotion, and I think it's understandable," Gill said Thursday. "And I think it's important to share with our community that, one: we take it seriously. Two: that we're going to reach out to every partner that is out there."

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Police Chief Mike Brown both apologized to Wubbels personally shortly after the videos were released. Wubbels said she felt both apologies were sincere and that she looks forward to working with both to "promote further civil dialogue and education."

Det. Jeff Payne has been placed on full administrative leave with Salt Lake City Police, and has been fired from his part-time job at Gold Cross Ambulance.  Payne was initially suspended from the department's blood draw program following the incident, but he remained active until the criminal investigation was announced, at which point he was placed on leave.

The letter Gill sent to the FBI is embedded below:

DA requests FBI assistance in Alex Wubbels investigation by kstumarkgreen on Scribd