This open letter was also sent to Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown at his public email address (email@example.com).
I am writing to you about the recent disturbing news that one of your SLCPD officers, Jeff Payne, arrested and roughed up a nurse for refusing to allow him to draw blood from an unconscious patient. Nurse Alex Wubbels was polite and professional to your officer while she followed hospital policy (with her supervisor on speaker phone, no less) in regard to drawing blood from unconscious patients who cannot give consent. Jeff Payne and the supervising lieutenant he was also consulting decided to arrest her without any legal basis and assault this nurse for doing her job with an integrity that your department could learn a lot from.
Recently there has been a lot of heat in the discussions between police departments and the communities they are entrusted to protect and police often get broadly tarred with an unfair brush for the actions of few. One of the reasons for this is that time after time we see officers commit violations of public trust and remain on the job, continuing to hold their responsibilities despite the public withdrawing their trust in the individual to have authority to use force against us.
The public has entrusted you with important responsibilities, not the least of which is to uphold the standards under which your department is allowed to use force against all of us. Your detective Jeff Payne has demonstrated unequivocally that he is not fit to have this authority and in any other setting any of us would lose our jobs over such an egregious workplace violation, yet you have seen fit to keep him on in an active capacity. This causes legitimate concerns about whether you are fit for the responsibilities entrusted to you by the public.
Your job is not to protect your buddies and colleagues. Your job is to the public. Do your job. Jeff Payne has no business with authority to use force against the public after his egregious abuse of this power. Why have you kept him on in an active capacity?