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FBI requested to investigate civil rights violations following Utah nurse’s arrest

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah– The Salt Lake County District Attorney Sam Gill is requesting the FBI to investigate any possible civil rights violations in the case involving a University of Utah Hospital nurse arrested for refusing to allow a Salt Lake officer to draw blood from a patient without a warrant, the district attorney office said Thursday.

“There continue to be issues that go beyond merely a criminal investigation, and, in an effort to address those concerns, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has formally asked for assistance from our Federal law enforcement partners to fully vet issues only they can investigate,” Gill said in a prepared statement.

“The District Attorney’s office has received multiple inquiries and communications concerning the incident,” he added. “We ask the community and our citizens to be patient. We assure them that this issue is of the utmost concern for us and we are committed to assuring a thorough, fair gathering and review of evidence, facts and issues.”

A formal letter was sent to the FBI Wednesday, the district attorney’s office said. The FBI would assist in determining if Wubbels’ rights were violated under “color of law.”

According to the Department of Justice, deprivation of rights under color of law is “a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

The case centers around a University of Utah Hospital nurse, Alex Wubbels, who was arrested July 26 after she refused to give a Salt Lake police officer vials of blood that he needed for an investigation into a fatal crash. She said he did not have a warrant or meet any of the mandatory criteria needed for taking blood.

Wubbels was left in a squad car for 20 minutes before it was discovered blood had already been drawn from the patient in question as a part of treatment, her lawyer said Friday.

Video of Wubbels’ arrest was released last week, prompting national outrage.

Gill previously said he was conducting a criminal investigation regarding the case. Both Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown and Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski publically apologized for the arrest on Friday.

Two officers involved in the arrest, including the arresting officer Jeff Payne, were placed on leave the following day, Salt Lake police said.

Payne, who was also a part-time paramedic from Gold Cross Ambulance, was fired from that position on Tuesday.