Two paramedics are facing murder charges after a man died in their care in Springfield, Illinois.
Peggy Finley, 44, and Peter Cadigan, 50, are accused of improperly restraining Earl Moore Jr. in preparation for an ambulance ride leading to his death on Dec. 18.
“They didn’t show any compassion whatsoever,” said Teresa Haley, local NAACP president, during a press conference Tuesday.
The night of the incident, police told WCIA Moore called 911 because “he saw multiple people inside with guns.”
Body camera video shows Springfield police officers arriving at Moore’s apartment. A woman hysterically tells the officers the 35-year-old is hallucinating. The woman then invites the officers inside the apartment and directs them to Moore’s bedroom.
Moore, who is Black, is seen lying in bed on his back, sweating and breathing heavily. As officers gauge his situational awareness by asking him if he knows his name and what year it is, they call for an ambulance.
About 15 minutes later, Moore rolls onto the floor as Finley and Cadigan, both white, walk into his bedroom. Finley stands over a prone Earl and appears to try to pull him up by grabbing one of his arms.
She is heard yelling at a distressed Moore, “Quit acting stupid. Sit up, now! I’m not playing with you today!”
Body-camera video continues to show a frustrated Finley continuing to berate Moore.
She yells, “you’re going to have to get up and walk because we ain’t carrying you. I’m seriously not in the mood for this dumb s—t,” Finley said.
Police eventually help Moore out of the house and onto an awaiting paramedic gurney, the video shows. Finley and Cadigan then strap him onto the gurney face down and cover him with blankets for the ambulance ride to the hospital.
Moore was transported to HSHS St. John’s Hospital’s emergency room, where he was pronounced dead at 3:14 a.m., NPR reports.
The Illinois State Police launched an investigation into Moore’s death. An autopsy conducted on Dec. 18 determined the cause of death was “compressional and positional asphyxia due to prone facedown restraint on a paramedic transportation cot by tightened straps across the back and lower body.”
Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon ruled Moore’s death a homicide.
Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright charged Finley and Cadigan with first-degree murder. Under Illinois law, first-degree murder is when a person “kills an individual without lawful justification. He or she intends to kill or do great bodily harm or knows that such acts will cause death.”
Wright said Finley and Cadigan should have known, based on their EMS training positioning Moore the way they did could lead to death.
“Knowing, based on their training, experience and surrounding circumstances, that such as would create a substantial probability of great bodily harm or death,” Wright said during Tuesday’s news conference.
Finley and Cadigan were arrested and booked into the Sangamon County Jail on a $1 million bond.
“It’s almost worse than putting your foot on somebody’s neck. This guy was already hyperventilating and having difficulties breathing then he’s put on the stretcher facedown. It was hostile,” Haley said after reviewing the body-camera footage.
A spokesperson for LifeStar Ambulance Service, Inc., Finley and Cadigan’s employer, told Atlanta Black Star by phone, “the case is still under investigation, and we cannot comment.”
Wright said potential penalties include a range of 20 to 60 years in prison if Finley and Cadigan are convicted.
According to his obituary, Moore was a manager at Mcdonald’s for 18 years.
“He loved fishing having fun and helping whoever he could whenever he could,” Moore’s obituary said.
Upon learning of the arrests, Moore’s family shared emotional posts on social media.
“Praying for Justice for my family. Just remember God is in control,” Moore’s cousin Darris Cole said in a post.
VaNnetta Haney, another of Moore’s relatives, said in a post he was “sweet and loving” and “one of the greatest men” she ever knew.
“He is Gone but never forgotten,” she wrote.