Video Shows Moments Before a Recently Exonerated Man Was Fatally Shot by a Deputy During a Traffic Stop
Ray Sanchez et al., CNN, October 19, 2023
Two months after the state of Florida formally apologized to Leonard Cure for the 16 years he lost following a wrongful conviction for armed robbery, authorities say he was fatally shot Monday by a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop just across the state line in Georgia.
“He and his family deserved better,” the Innocence Project of Florida said in a statement. “Lenny’s life mattered.”
Cure’s quest to rebuild his life after being wrongfully convicted in 2003 ended tragically on the shoulder of Interstate 95 in South Georgia on Monday morning.
On Wednesday, the Camden County, Georgia, sheriff’s office released body-worn and dash camera videos of the moments leading up to the shooting.
In the dash cam video, the deputy begins pursuing Cure with his sirens on after Cure’s vehicle passes his. The pursuit lasts about one minute and 20 seconds.
In the video, the deputy tells Cure to get out of his vehicle and says he pulled him over because he was speeding and driving recklessly. “You passed me going 100 miles per hour,” the deputy says.
“I’m not going to jail,” Cure says at one point. The deputy responds, “Yes, you are going to jail.”
The deputy orders Cure several times to put his hands behind his back, warning him he will be tased if he doesn’t. When Cure doesn’t comply, the deputy tases him.
While being tased, Cure turns and begins walking toward the deputy and grabs the Taser wire. The two engage in a physical struggle for about 20 seconds, during which Cure grabs the deputy’s throat and face. The deputy strikes Cure multiple times with a baton and Cure is heard saying, “Yeah, b*tch,” as the struggle goes on.
The deputy appears to fire his weapon and Cure falls to the ground. The gunshot is not audible in the videos.
The deputy is heard saying, “Camden, shots fired,” into his radio while he still commands Cure to stay down. Cure can be seen sitting up at times and flailing his arms. The deputy is then seen unpacking a first-aid kit and appears to begin administering aid until paramedics take over.
Camden County Sheriff's Office in GA released the Oct. 16 dashcam footage of the police shooting of the latest BLM martyr, Leonard Cure. He choked a deputy in the video. Cure was called a model citizen & spoke to school students about the justice system. pic.twitter.com/hAUOtQrqzN
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) October 18, 2023
Cure had been exonerated and released from prison in April 2020, after serving part of a life sentence for armed robbery in Broward County, Florida, court documents said.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Florida Innocence Project Director Seth Miller joined members of Cure’s family at the news conference.
“He is someone who was failed by the system once and he has again been failed by the system,” Miller said Wednesday, referring to Cure. “He’s been twice taken away from his family.”
Cure’s family planned to view the body and dash camera footage, his brother, Michael Cure, said earlier. The family was expected to meet privately with investigators shortly before the video’s public release and, following the viewing, the family planned to meet with the district attorney’s office to discuss next steps and possible disciplinary action for the deputy involved, the brother said Wednesday.
The family says the sheriff’s office footage is not the only video of the incident.
Crump, the civil rights attorney, said Cure was on Facebook Live during the traffic stop, but said the video has been pulled off the social media platform.