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Sangamon County (Illinois) EMTs Peter Cadigan and Peggy Finley charged with murdering Earl L. Moore Jr.

From left: Peggy Finley and Peter Cadigan. | Source: Sangamon County Jail

The family of a Black man who died on a gurney while in the care of a pair of EMTs in Illinois sued the accused murderers on the same day the disgraced emergency medical workers made their first appearance in court.

Earl L. Moore, Jr., was killed last month after Lifestar employees Peter Cadigan and Peggy Finley placed the 35-year-old face-down on a gurney and tightened the straps to the point he was smothered to death, prosecutors in Springfield, Illinois, have contended.

Police body-camera footage shows Moore sweating profusely before rolling off a bed onto the floor. Moore’s family members had reportedly called 911 because he was in the midst of a hallucinatory episode while detoxing. When Finley and Cadigan arrived at the scene, they did not behave the way medical professionals would be expected to while caring for someone who is obviously in bad shape.

The video from Dec. 18, 2022, is especially damning for Finley, who is shown callously telling Moore to “get up” and “quit acting stupid.”

Finley later told Moore: “You’re going to have to walk, cause we ain’t carrying you,” and “I am seriously not in the mood for this dumb sh*t.”

It was in that context that renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump led the filing of the lawsuit on Thursday.

During a press conference announcing the lawsuit that was held in front of the local NAACP headquarters, Crump called Moore’s death “unlike any case in America.” The details of the lawsuit, including any possible damages being sought, were not immediately clear

Crump previously said there was “no excuse” for how Cadigan and Finley treated Moore.

“There is no excuse for the actions of those LifeStar workers that ended his life,” Crump said in a statement emailed to NewsOne last weekend. “EMS workers respond to some of the hardest moments in people’s lives, and their occupation calls for them to operate with care and compassion. Earl saw neither care nor compassion in his last moments when he was suffocating, strapped face down to a stretcher by LifeStar employees.”

State’s Attorney Dan Wright offered a similar sentiment.

“Knowing based upon their training, experience, and the surrounding circumstances that such acts would create bodily harm and/or death, in violation of the Criminal Code of the state of Illinois, potential penalties faced by both defendants include a range of 20 to 60 years in the Department of Corrections,” Wright said during a news conference.

An autopsy found that Moore died of compressional and positional asphyxia due to prone facedown restraint on a stretcher.

“They didn’t show any compassion whatsoever,” local NAACP President Teresa Haley said during a press conference last week. “This was a black young man who lost his life due to negligence and we want to make sure justice is being served.”

Haley, who also said she believes the EMS workers “were treating him rougher because he was Black,” noted that if not for the bodycam footage, Finley and Cardigan would have gotten away with their treatment of Moore.

“What I must say is the Springfield Police Department did an awesome job and without the bodycams we wouldn’t have this information,” she added.

Moore’s death is still currently being investigated by the Illinois State Police, Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Sangamon County Coroner. Meanwhile, Finley and Cadigan are being held in the Sangamon County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Cadigan and Finley, who were arrested and charged with first-degree murder, made their first court appearance briefly Thursday before being expected to return on Friday for a preliminary hearing, according to the State Journal-Register.


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