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US nurse receives $500,000 payout following video of arrest

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A US nurse who was arrested for refusing to allow a police officer to draw blood from an unconscious patient has reached a $500,000 (£375,000) compensation settlement.

It was revealed on Tuesday that Alex Wubbels had agreed the payout, nearly two months after footage emerged on social media showing her being handcuffed by detective Jeff Payne.

She was following hospital policy when she told the officer he needed a warrant or patient consent to take blood after a car crash, as the patient was not under arrest or suspected of wrongdoing.

Ms Wubbels was then shown shouting for help as she was placed under arrest, manhandled out of the hospital doors and handcuffed, before being bundled into the back of a patrol car.

The incident at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 26 July was captured on film by the hospital and the detective’s body camera. It was subsequently posted on the YouTube website.

The footage sparked widespread criticism of the incident from bodies including the International Council of Nurses and ultimately saw the policeman in question fired and another demoted.

It was announced on 31 October that agreement over the compensation payout had been reached between Ms Wubbels, Salt Lake City local government and the hospital.

“We all deserve to know the truth. And the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage”

Alex Wubbels

In a statement, legal firm Christensen & Jensen said Ms Wubbels would use some of the money to fund several campaigns to raise awareness of the issue that she experienced and against violence.

She was working with the American Nurses Association on the #endnurseviolence campaign “to prevent what happened to her from happening elsewhere”, said the statement.

It added that she would also contribute to the Utah Nurse’s association, and would like to speak before the Utah government about the importance of making body cameras mandatory for police.

Plans to use part of the money to fund legal help for others trying to get similar body camera video, which she said was essential to being believed in cases like her own.

Christensen & Jensen said it had launched a new campaign using a “generous donation” from Ms Wubbels to help pay the costs of requesting bodycam footage from police departments.

University Hospital in Salt Lake City

US nurse receives $500,000 payout after video arrest

Alex Wubbels (left) and her legal team

It noted that since the nurse went public with the arrest video, she had sought to achieve goals including changes to policy on how police interact with nurses, accountability by the officers involved and starting a public discussion on the importance of body camera video.

“Those goals have each been met in some meaningful way,” it said. “Policy changes have taken hold, the officers involved have been disciplined, and the widespread attention the case garnered in the press pushed forward an important discussion about the importance of body cameras.”

Ms Wubbels added: “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 said.

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