LP celebrates nurse who defended patient’s 4th Amendment rights
“Arresting a nurse for following the Constitution against the orders of an out-of-control police officer is outrageous,” said Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the Libertarian National Committee.
Police body-cam videos released on Thursday by the Salt Lake Tribune explicitly show Nurse Alex Wubbels being taken into custody for correctly defending her patient’s right not to have blood drawn without his consent, the patient being under arrest or under a warrant for probable cause.
On July 26, Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff Payne insisted on getting a blood sample despite the clear 4th Amendment constitutional right of the unconscious patient not to have blood taken from him without his consent. Wubbels clearly and calmly told the officer that she was constrained both legally and by hospital policy from complying with the officer’s demands.
The officer snapped, cuffed Wubbels’s hands behind her back, and forcefully marched her to an unmarked police car. Although Detective Payne has now been placed on administrative leave, he was on active duty until the incriminating videos were made public and went viral on the Internet.
“Heroes like Ms. Wubbels should be celebrated, and criminals like Mr. Payne should be prosecuted,” Sarwark said. “It is not enough for Mr. Payne to be put on administrative leave. We call for Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill to pursue justice in this case by arresting and indicting Mr. Payne for his criminal conduct under color of law.”
This is the kind of abuse of power that should never be tolerated, Sarwark continued.
“Too many conscientious police officers risk their lives in the line of duty to have their professionalism sullied by officers who abuse their power as appears to have happened in this case,” Sarwark said. “For instance, just this Wednesday, Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Robert French was shot to death while doing what police officers should do: apprehending an alleged car thief.”
Sarwark insisted that those who stand up to unlawful authority should be celebrated.
“We as Libertarians applaud the heroism of ordinary people like Nurse Alex Wubbels,” Sarwark said. “She had the quiet courage to stand up for her patient’s rights against unlawful search.”
After Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Chief of Police Mike Brown issued long-overdue apologies, Wubbels issued this gracious statement:
“This morning, I received a call from the Mayor of Salt Lake City and the Chief of Police. They both offered me personal apologies, which I felt were sincere. I have accepted those apologies, and I look forward to working with both of them to help promote further civil dialogue and education. The common goal of all public service professionals should be to provide the best care to our fellow citizens.
“The outpouring of support has been beyond what I could have imagined. Since the incident, the City has taken this matter seriously, and I believe that positive change will occur.”
For more than 45 years, the Libertarian Party has stood for individual liberty in the face of abusive authority figures and intrusive legislation.
“Since our founding, the Libertarian Party has championed the rights of ordinary people against unjust laws and law-enforcement methods,” Sarwark said. “Our first presidential candidate, John Hospers, was an openly gay man when living a gay lifestyle was illegal in many parts of the country. We championed abolishing drug laws — which have been used to unjustly target the poor and minority groups — decades before states began to decriminalize marijuana. A free society is one where the laws are few, well-known, well-enforced, and limited to preventing the use of force or fraud by both the citizens and the government. This country has morphed into one where the laws are voluminous, impossible for anyone to fully know, and selectively enforced — often for political reasons. Democrats and Republicans are responsible for creating this system. Libertarians would like the opportunity to fix it.”