Detective Jeff Payne, who is facing an FBI investigation for the violent arrest of Utah nurse Alex Wubbels in July, was disciplined earlier for allegedly sexually harassing a female employee of the Salt Lake City Police department, reports said.
Payne faced an internal investigation for violating the police department’s policies and received a written reprimand four years ago for allegedly sexually harassing the female employee “over an extended period of time,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Police records accessed by Tribune revealed Payne made unwanted physical contact with the female employee on several occasions and sent a “disparaging email”, which was “profane in its content,” using department’s official email accounts.
A letter to Payne from former Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank in 2013 said the employee had testified against him. “Your harassing behavior was severe and persistent and created a hostile, intimidating work environment for this employee, significantly interfering with her ability to work,” the chief wrote.
He added: “After a review of the investigation conducted by Internal Affairs, I have concluded that the allegation is SUSTAINED.”
In another instance in 1995, Payne violated multiple department policies during a vehicle pursuit that involved the Utah Highway Patrol, the department found. The Tribune reported the details of the complaint were unclear, and it involved violation of a vehicle pursuit policy and the department’s code of ethics during a late night police chase. He was suspended for 80 hours without pay.
“Jeff, I am disappointed in your behavior on this incident, as I believe you are,” former Assistant Chief Larry Stott wrote in a letter. “I don’t believe this is indicative of the kind of work you do or the standard you hold yourself to.” He also said Payne was cooperative during the investigation.
However, Payne was also recognized for several achievements and was given a “Purple Heart” award by Utah Peace Officers Association in 1998 after he was shot in the shoulder by a suspect at a traffic stop. He was also recognized in 2014 at the 34th annual Salt Lake City Police Gala — a ceremony where officers were honored for their role on the force throughout the past year. Payne was recognized for the part he played in the Property Crimes Unit.
Lieutenant James Tracy, the watch commander who was with Payne at the time of July 26 incident and told him to place Wubbels under arrest,…