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Utah E.R. nurse's arrest now focus of criminal investigation

Detective Jeff Payne is under investigation for his arrest of Nurse Alex Wubbles. (KUTV)

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office and Unified Police have launched an independent criminal investigation of the arrest at the center of a now-viral video from the University of Utah ER.

DA Sim Gill and Sheriff Rosie Rivera made the announcement Tuesday afternoon as Salt Lake City officials distanced themselves from Detective Jeff Payne.

Payne arrested Nurse Alex Wubbles in July after Payne was denied access to an unconscious patient for a blood draw.

"This is an ever evolving situation, and we will do what is necessary to fully investigate the issue, uphold the integrity of the Salt Lake City Police Department, and strengthen the trust with our community," Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said in a prepared statement.

Brown spoke at a news conference Friday morning and said the department has been conducting an internal investigation of the arrest since July.

“I want to be very clear we take this very seriously,” Brown said. we will have to let the process play out. I haven't made any decisions I haven't reviewed the whole thing yet. I want people to trust in the process.”

DA Gill posted on Facebook Friday afternoon that his office would review the case.

“In fairness to all those involved I have requested a criminal investigation into the incident so that the District Attorney’s office could screen the matter after gathering all the facts. Our office had not received any materials on the matter thus far and in the interest of justice and given the prima facie evidence a criminal investigation is warranted,” Gill wrote.

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