Prosecutors in Illinois have charged two emergency medical services workers with murder for strapping a patient face-down to a stretcher. Photo courtesy of Sangamon County
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Illinois have charged two emergency medical services workers with murder for strapping a patient face-down to a stretcher.
Peter Cadigan, 50, and Peggy Finley, 44, were each charged with first-degree murder in the death of Earl L. Moore Jr. in December, Sangamon County State's Attorney Dan Wright announced Tuesday.
Officers with the Springfield Police Department responded to a home in the Pillsbury neighborhood of Springfield at about 2:02 a.m. on Dec. 18 after a 911 caller reported several people inside with firearms, Springfield Police Chief Ken Scarlette said in a statement.
Another resident notified police when they arrived that the 911 caller, later identified as Moore, was suffering from hallucinations from alcohol withdrawal.
"The officers located the subject in a rear bedroom and quickly realized that the patient was in need of medical assistance. They requested an ambulance through dispatch and while the officers waited for the medical personnel, they attempted to gain information from the patient," Scarlette said.
The EMS workers, employed by LifeStar Ambulance Service, arrived around 2:18 a.m. and were escorted into the home when Finley allegedly instructed Moore to walk to the ambulance.
"It is clear based on the officer's body-worn camera footage that the patient was not able to walk and the medical personnel were not offering any assistance," Scarlette said.
"The three officers took turns helping the patient through the residence and onto the stretcher outside," Scarlette said.
Police body-camera footage released by Sangamon County officials shows the two medical workers strapping Moore face-down onto the stretcher.
Law enforcement officials were later notified that Moore was declared dead at the hospital.
"The men and women of the Springfield Police Department join the Springfield community in grieving the unnecessary loss of life and pledge to work with the medical care providers in our area to ensure the citizens of Springfield receive the utmost care and consideration in their time of need," Scarlette said.
Cadigan and Finley have each been ordered held on $1 million bond, Sangamon County jail records show. Cadigan is being held in the jail's medical facilities.
Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon said Tuesday that Moore died of "compressional and positional asphyxia due to prone face-down restraint on a paramedic transportation cot/stretcher by tightened straps across the back" and classified his death as a homicide.
Teresa Haley, president of the Springfield branch of the NAACP, told the State Journal-Register that Moore's death was reminiscent of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020."It was hostile to see the video and how they treated him," she said.
Scarlette said that police officials have met with representatives from the NAACP, as well as Black Lives Matter, the Faith Coalition for the Common Good and the American Civil Liberties Union.