Family of man who died in Peoria Police custody sues city, AMT

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria mother is suing the city of Peoria for $10 million, plus costs of the lawsuit, after the police custody death of 33-year-old David Smith on Oct. 10, 2019, led to zero charges against any of the officers involved.

Plantiff Verniec Fluker, Smith’s mother, filed the charges on Friday and listed several people and a private corporation, stating they, “willfully and wantonly disregarded how David S. Smith was in medical distress, deliberately ignoring the need to immediately transport him to the hospital.”

The lawsuit states Smith was a victim of police misconduct at the hands of several Peoria police officers, specifically Officers William England, Joshua Feeney, Ruth Sandoval, and Megan Houghton. It also lists Advanced Medical Transport, and more specifically defendants Duncan Bigger and Adam Belsley as contributors to Smith’s death.

In a letter released Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion said none of the officers involved in Smith’s death would face criminal charges. Marion said the officers were not responsible for Smith’s death as they did not use force on him during his arrest.

The letter prompted responses from members of the community who said they were unhappy with the decision. In June, the mother of David’s Smith daughter said the officers involved need to be held accountable.

Fluker filed the lawsuit with the Cochran Law Firm located at 140 S. Dearborn St. in Chicago.

WMBD reached out to city officials about the lawsuit, but were unable to get any official statements on the matter as the litigation is still pending.

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