I am a law and order guy. I was raised in a family with a mother who had a “Support Your Local Police” bumper sticker on our car, and I was proud of that. It’s a motto that I still use and stand by. But we live in a society where local police are increasingly becoming militarized in attitude and hardware, and sometimes depart from their role of defending our inalienable rights. I’ve previously mentioned the horrific problem of “civil asset forfeiture” in which local police can seize your assets without a trial, without a warrant, without due process, and then profit from what they take (getting to keep 80% of the takings, with 20% going to the Federal Government). About 80% of those cases never have criminal charges filed, so the excuse that it’s just being used to go after criminals is unfounded. It’s a grotesque violation of the Bill of Rights that the Trump Administration firmly supports.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions just lifted a weak restraint against this corrupt practice that had been imposed during the Obama Administration, showing us that the Bill of Rights really is becoming meaningless. But the US Constitution is still there, it’s still the ultimate law of the land, and those liberties are God-given regardless of what corrupt officers say. Citizens are still right to insist on their rights and to stand up for the rights of others, though preserving those rights often requires courage.
That brings me to the story of Alex Wubbles, a heroic nurse in Salt Lake City. Alex showed great courage in standing up against a Salt Lake police officer who was clearly breaking the law and seeking to violate the rights of an unconscious patient. This woman stood up for the law and for that patient, and ended up being manhandled and arrested by the officer, and then rudely lectured by his supervisor as if she was the problem. Those who denounce police in general, sometimes in the interest of agitating and stirring up revolution, are especially interested in this story, but it should be most meaningful for those of us who want to support our local police and yearn for a civil, peaceful society with the rule of law under the largely inspired principles of the US Constitution.
A good overview of the story is “Infuriating: Police Arrest on Duty Nurse For Refusing to Break Law” at ZeroHedge.com (warning: that site tends to have a lot of profanity in the comments). Watch the video there or below to see Alex’s calm courage. She appears at about 5:27 and the violent arrest occurs shortly after that. You can also read a follow-up story at the Salt Lake Tribune. An excerpt from the ZeroHedge story follows:
“Is this patient under arrest?” Alex Wubbles asks the officer, being instructed by legal counsel on the phone.
“Nope,” the officer says.
“Do you have an electronic warrant?” She asks, searching for a way to legally comply with the officers.
“No,” The officer admits bluntly, getting annoyed.
police did not have a warrant. The police did not have probable cause.
The man was not under arrest. The unconscious patient could not consent.
nurse, Alex, printed out the hospital’s policy which the Salt Lake City
Police Department agreed to. She showed it to the officers. She clearly
and calmly listed the three things which would allow her to give the
police the blood sample: a warrant, patient consent, or a patient under
The police had none of these things.
so I take it, without those in place, I am not going to get blood?” The
Officer Jeff Payne is heard saying behind his body cam.
The legal counsel on the phone tries to tell the officer not to blame the messenger, and that he is making a big mistake.
Then, the officer attacks the nurse, Alex Wubbles. He drags her outside, and handcuffs her, while she cries.
“What is going on?!” She says exasperated, wondering why they are doing this to her.
couldn’t just break the hospital policy and put her job in jeopardy
because some police officers illegally told her to. She couldn’t simply
collude with the lawbreakers–the police–and illegally hand over a blood
sample on behalf of an unconscious patient.
That would have opened her up to lawsuits and job loss.
officers were, in fact, breaking the law. They had no legal right to
demand blood from an unconscious patient who could not consent.
man they wanted blood from was a truck driver who had struck a vehicle
being pursued by the police. It is unclear why they would even need a
blood sample from the victim.
But none of these legal facts stopped the police from placing the nurse under arrest.
Wubbles was handcuffed and placed in a police vehicle. She was never actually charged.
You could chalk this up to one crazy officer, Detective Jeff Payne with the Salt Lake City Police.
then his supervisor showed up to the scene. While the nurse was
handcuffed in the cruiser, the supervisor started to lecture her.
are civil remedies,” he said, telling her she should have broken the
law when the officer told her to. Of course, this ignored the fact that
she would have been caught up in the civil action against the officers!
like an episode of the Twilight Zone as the Supervisor lies and says
the nurse was obstructing justice. All the nurse wanted was a warrant
signed by a judge, the legal requirement to execute a search! And yet
not just Officer Payne, but his Supervisor insist that she should have
given them what they wanted, without a warrant.
What? Yes, go get a warrant! That is what you have been repeatedly told by the nurse and hospital staff!
can tell from the video she is not some anti-cop crusader. She was
legitimately trying to do her job and follow the law to the best of her
ability. Before she is arrested, you can tell she is worried and
uncomfortable, trying her best to keep the situation calm and
And then the police handcuffed and dragged a crying nurse out of the building to intimidate and harass her further.
is a strong woman. She stood up to their bullying and lies and did not
give in. Despite the best efforts of the police, she would not help them
violate the Fourth Amendment rights of her patient.
The supervisor told the nurse that she should cooperate, and if something was illegal in their request, that there would be “civil remedies” later. Ridiculous. She would have been violating the law and very likely would have been sued for so doing. She could lose her job, lose everything, while also losing her integrity. That’s what the supervisor expected of her. This reflects not just one rogue cop having a bad day. It reflects a mentality that needs to be rooted out. It reflects a growing loss of personal liberty in the United States. Citizens need to understand their rights and stand up for them.
Thank you, Alex Wubbles, for defending the rights of an innocent, uncharged, unconscious patient. Thank you for standing for law and order in an increasingly lawless society where the law breakers aren’t always just hoodlums running from the police.
A badge and a gun do not define the law, although some people feel that law is whatever those with the guns say and demand. May we return to a safe, civil society with the rule of law and law that conforms with and protects the inalienable, God-given rights of individuals.
Fellow Utahans, don’t ignore this troubling story. Don’t ignore the loss of personal rights as long as it’s just someone else being dragged away in cuffs for doing what’s right. Once liberty and basic rights are lost, they are not easily regained. Speak up. Support law and order, and help our local police become the kind of local police who not only refuse to participate in illegal civil asset forfeiture, but who won’t abuse their power to get their way and trample on the rights of others. We need effective local police whose leaders ensure that they follow and respect the law, particularly the Bill of Rights. Local police who respect their local fellow citizens should be a part of our local community that we are all proud of. Change is needed in Salt Lake and around the nation to regain that.