On Friday, NBC News broke tape of nurse Alex Wubbels, who was forcibly manhandled by police officers and arrested for the supposed crime of refusing to give a suspect’s blood to the cops:
There are a few problems here.
First off, she was following the law. As The Washington Post reports:
The detective didn’t have a warrant, first off. And the patient wasn’t conscious, so he couldn’t give consent. Without that, the detective was barred from collecting blood samples — not just by hospital policy, but by basic constitutional law.
Detective Jeff Payne can be seen on the tape openly acknowledging lack of probable cause for a warrant, and telling another police officer, “I’ve never gone this far.” When Wubbels was asked about taking blood, she responded, “The patient can’t consent, he’s told me repeatedly that he doesn’t have a warrant, and the patient is not under arrest.”
Finally, Payne grabbed her, cuffed her, and arrested her, as Wubbels hollers, “Help! Help me! Stop! You’re assaulting me!”
The suspect in the case was fleeing police in a truck when he crossed the center line and hit a truck head on; he later died. Payne was supposedly following orders from his lieutenant.
This case is demonstrative of a relatively simple fact that the media routinely ignore: the biggest problem for police officers engaged in malfeasance isn’t racism or bias, but bad training resulting in a sense of entitlement. Wubbels is white. The officer is white. When we see tapes of police officers failing to do their jobs properly, or participating in brutality, the first suspicion should be that they’re crappy at their jobs, not that they’re racist.
And that’s a huge problem. Police officers who aren’t well-trained undermine law enforcement generally, as well as abusing the rights of citizens; good police officers would be the first to agree. The balance between freedom and order can only be maintained by properly-acting police. That’s why Wubbels should be celebrated here, and Payne should obviously lose his job.