Two EMTs Face Murder Charges, Wrongful Death
Two EMTs are facing murder charges and the company that employed them is being sued after they transported a man facedown who later arrived dead. According to authorities and the wrongful death lawsuit, the man was strapped so tightly into the gurney that he was asphyxiated.
According to police, they were called to resolve a domestic disturbance involving a mental health crisis. Someone inside the home told them that the victim was suffering from alcohol withdrawal, hallucinating, and in a bad state. The victim was restrained and then placed on the stretch facedown. The straps were tightly strapped in. He suffocated and died. Now, the EMTs are being charged with his murder. The official cause of death was positional asphyxia.
Police have been accused of causing positional asphyxia in the past. Charges seldom result from this. Of course, police are not medical professionals. You would think an EMT would know better. In this case, that is why they are being charged with murder.
The wrongful death lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the ambulance company that employed the two EMTs that laid the plaintiff in the prone position. The victims have retained prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump to try this case. Crump stated that the allegations in this lawsuit are unique and “unlike anything he has seen before.” However, a similar lawsuit was filed in Florida after EMTs refused to treat a woman because they believed she “probably didn’t have insurance”.
The murder charges
The defendants have been charged with first-degree murder. However, this looks like an ideal case to plead down. Unfortunately for the defendant, that’s exactly what the prosecution is hoping. They can’t be certain they can get a conviction for murder against this defendant. However, a conviction for homicide would be justified.
Under the law, murder and homicide are two different things. While all murders are homicides, only some homicides are murders. To murder someone, you need malice aforethought which generally translates to “bad intentions”. For homicide, you don’t need bad intentions, you need culpable negligence, which generally translates to, not caring whether the person is harmed or not even though there is a substantial risk that they can be.
To prove a criminally negligent homicide, the prosecution must establish that there was considerable risk of death, the defendants were aware of that risk, and they simply didn’t care. To prove first-degree murder, the prosecution would have to establish the EMTs wanted the man to die.
So, the situation seems more likely to result in manslaughter charges rather than murder charges.
Talk to a Tampa Wrongful Death and Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of Tampa residents who have lost family members due to acts of negligence. We also represent those charged with crimes in the State of Florida. Call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.