Two emergency medical technicians from LifeStar Ambulance Service, Inc. were charged Monday with first-degree murder in the Dec. 18 death of a Springfield man.
Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright filed the charges against Peggy Jill Finley, 44, of the 800 block of South Durkin Drive, and Peter J. Cadigan, 50, of the 1000 block of Green Acres Lane.
Finley and Cadigan were arrested Monday and are being held in the Sangamon County Jail on $1 million bonds.
Both face 20 to 60 behind bars if convicted.
Acts by Finley and Cadigan, which were captured on body cameras worn by three Springfield Police Department officers, resulted in the death of Earl L. Moore Jr., 35, of the 1100 block of North 11th Street, Wright said at a press conference at the Sangamon County complex Tuesday morning.
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,” said Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon on Tuesday. Those findings, Allmon said, came from Dr. John Scott Denton, a forensic pathologist from Bloomington on Monday.
Wright released the body cam footage Tuesday afternoon.
Teresa Haley, president of the Springfield branch of the NAACP and its state director, said she thought there was a racial component to the actions of the EMTs because Moore was Black.
“I believe (the EMTs) were treating (Moore) rougher because he was Black,” Haley said following the press conference. “It was hostile to see the video and how they treated him.”
Springfield Police Chief Ken Scarlette said police officials met Monday with stakeholders from the NAACP, Black Lives Matter SPI, the Faith Coalition for the Common Good and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Roger D. Campbell, the president of LifeStar, said the company had no comment because of the ongoing investigation.
An original dispatch call came in for a residence in the 1100 block of North 11th Street at 2:02 a.m., Scarlette said. That call indicated there were multiple subjects at the residence with guns, Scarlette noted.
Upon arrival, Scarlette said, three SPD officers talked to a female resident who said Moore was suffering from hallucinations because of a medical condition. The female was a relative of Moore’s.
The officers were invited into the residence and within minutes of encountering Moore, radioed for an ambulance, Scarlette said.
Officers met Finley at the door and relayed to her information about Moore’s condition, Scarlette said.
Finley treated Moore “poorly and didn’t give him the care and compassion and respect he deserved,” Scarlette added. No medical treatment was rendered to Moore in the residence, he said.
Scarlette said EMTs told Moore that if he wanted to go to the hospital, he would have to walk to the stretcher, which was outside the home.
It was the officers, Scarlette said, who took turns getting Moore outside and placed him in “a recovery position, essentially lying him on his side on the stretcher.”
That, he said, transferred care to the EMTs.
Scarlette said the three officers waited until Moore was loaded into the ambulance before clearing the scene.
Haley said she thought of George Floyd when she watched the footage.
“They literally threw (Moore’s) hands behind and strapped him down. He couldn’t move if he wanted to and he’s face down,” Haley said.
“They did not show any compassion whatsoever to this individual. He should be alive today.”
Scarlette also commended the officers for the way they handled their portion of the call.
“They recognized this individual was suffering from some type of unknown medical condition and their mindset was immediately focused on compassion and empathy and patience,” Scarlette said.
A statement from Black Lives Matter SPI issued late Tuesday afternoon said it was “heartbroken to learn about the senseless killing” of Moore and supported the legal action taken against Finley and Cadigan to hold them accountable.
The statement added that “the Black community faces constant bias and racism in a variety of contexts, including while seeking medical treatment. This is exacerbated for those with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Unfortunately, this incident shines a light on how dangerous it can be for the Black community to seek treatment and received medical care.”
Haley said Moore’s socio-economic background definitely impacted the decisions of the EMTs when they showed up at this residence.
“You would have thought they would have gone over and said, ‘Are you OK?’ and checked his vitals and did some of those things. None of that was done,” Haley said. “They came in with a wrong attitude.
Finley and Cadigan were arraigned before Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Associate Judge Karen Tharp Tuesday. Attorney Peter Wise appeared on behalf of both defendants.
Neither Finley nor Cadigan appeared to have any criminal histories in Sangamon County.
Their next court appearance is Jan. 19.
Illinois State Police is continuing its investigation into the case.