SLCPD Detective Who Arrested Nurse Had Been Disciplined for Sexual Harassment

The controversial arrest of a University Hospital nurse wasn’t the first time Salt Lake City police Detective Jeff Payne had faced an internal investigation for violating department policies, newly released records show.
About four years ago, Payne received a written reprimand for allegedly sexually harassing another department employee “over an extended period of time,” internal police records state.

And in 1995, Payne was found to have violated multiple department policies related to a vehicle pursuit that involved the Utah Highway Patrol. He was suspended 80 hours without pay.

Payne and another officer, Lt. James Tracy, have been the focus of several investigations in recent weeks after Payne aggressively arrested University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels on July 26, acting on the directions of Tracy.

Wubbels, citing hospital policy, refused to allow Payne to obtain a blood sample from an unconscious patient injured in a fiery crash in Cache County.

The resulting arrest drew widespread outrage when Wubbels’ attorney released body camera footage of the encounter two weeks ago.

Public documents recently obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune shed new light on both officers’ law enforcement careers, covering both the good and bad, including department policy violations and various commendations.

A May 2013 letter to Payne from then-Chief Chris Burbank states another Salt Lake City Police Department employee testified Payne had harassed her for a long time.

“Your harassing behavior was severe and persistent and created a hostile, intimidating work environment for this employee, significantly interfering with her ability to work,” the letter states. Burbank added the behavior was “particularly serious” because Payne made unwanted physical contact and sent a “disparaging email.”

The chief found Payne violated several department policies, including one barring discrimination and sexual harassment. The letter served as Payne’s reprimand, the chief wrote, adding that any further misconduct could result in termination. Additional details of the case were not included.

Payne’s sexual harassment reprimand came around the time another sexual harassment scandal was roiling the department. Several women in the department said a deputy police chief, Rick Findlay, sexually harassed them, which prompted an internal affairs investigation in late 2013. The episode led to Burbank’s resignation two years later, when then-Mayor Ralph Becker said Burbank had mishandled the complaints.

Details of the 1995 complaint against Payne are unclear. But it involved his actions during a police chase late at night that included UHP. He was found to have violated several policies, including a vehicle pursuit policy and the department’s code of ethics.

“Jeff, I am disappointed in your behavior on this incident, as I believe you are,” then-Assistant Chief Larry Stott wrote in a letter, adding that Payne had been cooperative with the investigation. “I don’t believe this is indicative of the kind of work you do or the standard you hold yourself to.”

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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