The story of the police officer who roughly handcuffed and arrested a nurse at the University of Utah hospital because she politely – and rightly – refused to take blood from an accident victim because the officer lacked proper authority has received widespread attention in the media. PZ Myers has also written about it.
Look at how at the 6:45 mark, the officer suddenly explodes when the nurse, following the instructions of her supervisor, says she cannot comply. What is clear from the video is that this is another example of what we can label police rage. This is when a police officer reacts angrily and irrationally to anyone who has the temerity to not immediately comply with their demands, however unreasonable or even unlawful. The police seem to expect complete docility and obsequiousness while people are following orders.
Later in the video at the 11:00 mark, we see how another police officer at the scene makes up the law to justify their actions, even though the law is completely on the nurse’s side. What is impressive is how calmly the nurse explains her position in the face of police bullying.
Police rage is widespread and endemic in the US where it is especially visible in their dealings with people of color. The police officer in the above video and another unspecified officer (maybe the other officer who made up the law to justify their action or a supervisor) have been placed on leave and both the city mayor and the police chief have apologized to the nurse. I hope the nurse sues the police department for the way she was treated.
The hospital has also instituted a new policy that bars officers from coming to the hospital in person to get blood samples. Maybe next time the police will send in a heavily armored SWAT team with armored personnel carriers to blast their way in and forcibly take blood. No pesky hospital rules are going to stop them when their rage is in full flower.