Two paramedics have been charged with murder after bodycam footage showed them putting a patient face down on a stretcher an hour before he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital in Springfield, Illinois.
Peter Cadigan, 50, and Peggy Finley, 44, both employees of LifeStar, have been charged with first degree murder following the death of Earl J. Moore Jr on December 18. He was 35 years old.
Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright said at a press conference Tuesday that in addition to being face down, Moore had straps placed on his back and legs.
Authorities in Springfield said that police were called to Moore’s home in the Pillsbury neighborhood around 2 am after receiving a call about people inside an apartment in the building with guns.
After they arrived, authorities encountered Moore, who was experiencing alcohol withdrawal induced hallucinations, a statement from the Springfield Police Department said. An ambulance was called and arrived minutes later.
Earl Moore Jr, shown here on his sister’s Facebook page, was suffering from alcohol withdrawal when he was put face down on the stretcher
It was Moore who called the police. When officers arrived, a woman let them into the home. She tells the police: ‘There no one here with guns.’ The woman also said that Moore was suffering from alcohol withdrawals and that he hadn’t had a drink in days.
In the bodycam footage, the woman can be seen bringing in the police into a back bedroom where Moore is lying.
The woman says: ‘He called you guys for no reason.’ When asked by an officer if an ambulance should be called, the woman says: ‘Every time I take him to the hospital, all they do is release him.’
She also said: ‘He’s seeing stuff that’s not there and hearing voices in his head.’
An officer tells Moore: ‘She’s worried about you man. She’s said you’ve been struggling a bit.’ Moore finally speaks for the first time: ‘I can use some water.’
Peter Cadigan, 50, shown here, is being held on a $1 million bond at the Sangamon County jail
Peggy Finley, 44, can be heard in the body cam footage berating Moore on multiple occasions
Police in Springfield said that police were called to the address in the Pillsbury neighborhood around 2 am on December 18 after receiving a call about people inside an apartment in the building with guns
The woman who answered the door to responding officers said that Moore had not had a drink in days
A few minutes later, the ambulance arrives. Finley enters the apartment.
She subsequently yells at Moore: ‘I am not playing with you tonight. Sit up’ and later says: ‘Quit acting stupid.’ She goes on: ‘You’re gonna have to walk ‘cause we ain’t carrying you! I am seriously not in the mood for this dumb sh*t.’
Then, a police officer chimes in: ‘If you want to go to the hospital, man, you’ve got to help us out a little bit.’
It was the police who brought Moore outside to the stretcher, State’s Attorney Dan Wright said.
Once outside, the paramedics begin putting Moore on the stretcher, the video shows. From there, he is wheeled towards the ambulance and put inside. The video ends shortly afterwards.
Officials said that Moore was pronounced dead at the hospital around an hour later.
The woman who answered the door said that Moore was ‘seeing stuff that’s not there and hearing voices in his head’
His cause of death was compressional and positional asphyxia ‘due to prone face-down restraint on a paramedic transportation cot/stretcher by tightened straps across the back and lower body in the setting of lethargy and underlying chronic alcoholism,’ Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon said at Tuesday’s press conference.
Moore’s death was investigated by the Illinois State Police.
It was their findings that led to charges being brought against Cadigan and Finley. They were taken into custody on January 9. Both are being held on a bond of $1 million each at Sangamon County jail.
The jail records show that Cadigan is in custody in the prison’s medical facility.
The pair face up 60 years in prison if convicted. They will make their next appearance in court on January 19.
During the press conference, Wright said that Cadigan and Finley ‘did act without lawful jurisdiction’ and he accused them of putting ‘tightened restraints’ on Moore.
He added that thanks to the pair’s training they should have known ‘that such acts would create a substantial probability of great bodily harm or death.’
The pair’s lawyer, D. Peter Wise, told The Washington Post: ‘These are two good people that find themselves in a very odd criminal case.’
While the president of NAACP’s Springfield chapter Teresa Haley drew comparisons between Moore’s death to George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer in 2020.
In an interview with The Illinois Times, Haley said: ‘It was almost worse. If this guy was already … having difficulties breathing, and then you put him on a stretcher facedown, I mean, it was hostile to see the video and how they treated him.’
She continued: ‘They literally threw his hands behind and just strapped him down. He couldn’t move if he wanted to.’
According to his obituary, Moore’s funeral was held in Springfield on December 29.
The tribute said that the victim worked as a manager at McDonald’s for 18 years. It goes on: ‘He loved fishing having fun and helping whoever he could whenever he could.’
His sister wrote on Facebook following the announcement of the charges against Cadigan and Finley: ‘My brother’s death was caused by careless, unsympathetic, unprofessional, “medically trained” personnel.’
She continued: ‘Earl Moore was kind, caring, funny, with a contagious smile and he definitely did not deserve this. They ALL had a role and they ALL failed my brother; I’m praying the justice system does not fail him too.’
Moore’s cousin, Darris Cole said in a Facebook post: ‘Praying for Justice for my family. Just remember God is in control.’ A relative called Moore ‘sweet and loving’ and was ‘one of the greatest men.’ She concluded: ‘He is gone but never forgotten.’