GREENSBORO — Guilford County has asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit’s claims against the county and two paramedics in a case where a Greensboro man died while in police custody.

The county said in a brief filed Monday that the paramedics were responding as they should under intense pressure.

Marcus Deon Smith died last Sept. 8 after police restrained him with a RIPP-hobble device, binding his hands to his feet behind him.

A federal lawsuit was filed in April on behalf of Smith’s parents against the city of Greensboro, eight Greensboro police officers, Guilford County and two Guilford County paramedics. It claims the police caused his death and the paramedics “failed to promptly attend to his serious medical needs.”

In its brief filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District, the county attorney’s office said that the lawsuit does not adequately show that the county or the paramedics violated Smith’s Constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment, which says the government cannot deprive a person of his life without due process under the law.

The Smith lawsuit claims that the paramedics did not act with urgency when they arrived to find the restrained Smith lying face-down and unresponsive on the street with police surrounding him.

The county’s brief says the paramedics were under pressure to make big decisions quickly and that what appears to be two minutes of inactivity, shown in a police video, was when the paramedics were trying to determine how to treat Smith while the police were still in charge of the situation.

“The urgency and magnitude of the decision-making immediately cast upon the Paramedics cannot be overstated,” the brief filed by the county says.

The brief says that the paramedics were facing a complicated series of decisions and at no time did they act with “deliberate indifference” under the law and should not be a part of the lawsuit.

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Contact Richard M. Barron at 336-373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.

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