Leonard Allan Cure, who spent over 16 years imprisoned in Florida for a wrongful conviction, was killed during a traffic stop by a Georgia sheriff. Cure, an African American, was returning from visiting his mother when the incident occurred. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent probe into the shooting.
Leonard Cure’s Path to Freedom
In 2004, Leonard Cure was wrongfully convicted of armed robbery with a firearm and assault with a firearm.
He was sentenced to life in prison despite having an alibi and no physical or forensic evidence connecting him to the crime.
Appealing the Decision
Over the years, Cure appealed his conviction multiple times. In 2020, he was released from prison after the Broward State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit raised questions about his identification as a suspect and inclusion in an initial lineup.
Exonerated of All Charges
After his appeal, all charges against Cure were subsequently dropped, making him the first person exonerated by the unit.
The encounter unfolded in Camden County, near the Florida border, when a sheriff’s deputy pulled Cure over at approximately 7:30 a.m. Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge, the deputy, initiated the traffic stop.
Investigation and Sheriff’s Office History
Preliminary findings from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation indicate that Cure initially complied with Aldridge’s instructions but resisted arrest when he learned the grounds for it.
The released dashcam and bodycam footage depicted Aldridge instructing Cure to “Step out!” of his truck at a traffic stop.
Cure initially resisted but eventually complied when threatened with a Taser.
A Criminal Offense
A dialogue between the two men ensued, with Cure asking, “So that’s a speeding ticket, right?” To which Aldridge responded, “Sir, tickets in the state of Georgia are criminal offenses.”
Raising a Hand
Aldridge informed Cure that he was being arrested for speeding and reckless driving. Cure responded by asking if he was going to jail, to which Aldridge said he was.
Cure raised his left arm towards the sky, prompting Aldridge to deploy his Taser, hitting Cure in the back.
The Deadly Altercation
Cure then turned around and walked toward the office and a physical altercation between the two men broke out.
At one point Cure was chocking the officer before Aldridge unholstered his weapon and shot Cure, causing him to fall to the ground.
Aldridge, the deputy, remained unharmed and has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation proceeds.
Camden County Sheriff’s Office
Cure’s family and their attorneys have expressed concerns about the culture within the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.
The office had faced numerous complaints in recent years, particularly related to incidents at the county jail, resulting in the termination of its insurance coverage.
Death Sentence at a Traffic Stop
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Cure’s family, said, “Just because you’re Black should not be the determining factor whether you get a death sentence for a traffic stop.”
Life After Release
Following his release, Leonard Cure had embarked on a new path. He reconnected with his family, secured steady employment, and aspired to pursue higher education in music production.
Cure was in the process of purchasing his first home near Atlanta when the fatal traffic stop occurred.
In Memory of Leonard Cure
As his family, attorneys, and supporters mourn his loss, they continue to advocate for justice and reform.
However, many feel Officer Aldridge did what he had to.
One social media user commented, “There is one thing you can do with a police officer – comply…You’re not going to argue your way out of anything. If you fight the cop off, your inevitable punishment will be dramatically more severe…”
The post From Tragedy to Tragedy as Man Wrongfully Imprisoned for 16 Years Loses Life in Fatal Traffic Stop first appeared on Career Step Up
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Motortion Films. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.