TULSA, Oklahoma. When a Utah officer asked a nurse to draw blood on an unconscious patient, the nurse, in accordance with her hospital’s policy, asked for a warrant. The officer did not have one. When the nurse refused to allow the officer to draw the blood sample, she was restrained and arrested. According to the BBC, footage shows the officer dragging the nurse out of the hospital and forcibly putting handcuffs around her wrists. The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave for his actions.
Yet, the situation raises concerns about when and how officers gather evidence. It also raises awareness of the fact that officers may not always have a warrant before they seek to gather evidence. Without a warrant, an officer must have consent before he or she can search your person. In order to get a blood sample, you must be under arrest and the officer must have a warrant. In general, if you are facing arrest, it is best to assert your right to remain silent, assert that you do not consent to any search, and ask to speak to your Tulsa, Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers at the Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
In the case of the officer in the hospital, it was hospital policy for officers to have a warrant before they were granted access to patients. The fact that a nurse, who was just doing her job, was subjected to such a violent arrest, is disturbing.
The patient who was at the center of the fight was really just a bystander in a police chase gone wrong. Police were chasing another suspect. The suspect swerved into another car and the man was taken to the hospital with burn injuries. Why would the police want to take blood from a person who was not involved in a crime and who was essentially a bystander? It probably comes down to personal injury responsibility. The police force probably wanted to take blood so that it could clear itself of negligence should the bystander later claim the police were reckless in their police chase. If police found drugs or alcohol in the person’s system, the police might be able to push the negligence for the accident onto the bystander. The police’s attempt to take blood is clearly an abuse of power in this case, because the individual would likely not have been suspected of drunk driving or having chemicals in his system otherwise.
Disturbingly, during the wrongful arrest, the video does not show other officers stepping in to protect the nurse. The New Yorker reports that the officers looked “more or less dazed.” Other officers claimed that they should be allowed to take the blood because it would essentially “go away” later if it was found to be in violation of the patient’s rights. Yet, when officers violate a person’s rights, it becomes up to the individual to fight back. Not everyone may be aware that evidence was gathered inappropriately and it then puts the burden of proof on the person who has had his or her rights violated. The whole incident highlights the importance of protecting your rights if you are facing arrest or criminal charges. Speak to the Tulsa, Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers at the Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. today to seek justice and protect your rights.