One of the foremost civil rights attorneys has been retained by the grieving family of an unarmed Black driver who was shot to death this week by a police officer during a traffic stop in Georgia.
The case of Leonard Allan Cure, who was enjoying freedom after being exonerated in 2020 from a wrongful life sentence for which he served 16 years in a Florida prison, will be handled by Ben Crump, who on Wednesday announced he would be representing the family of the 53-year-old shooting victim.
We are so terribly sad to share the news that our exonerated client, Leonard Cure, was shot and killed by a Camden County Georgia Sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop this morning while driving back from Florida to his residence in Georgia. pic.twitter.com/jvgZrblBD3
— Innocence Project of FL (@FLA_Innocence) October 17, 2023
Crump scheduled an official press conference on Wednesday afternoon to address Monday morning’s shooting of Cure, which was the 80th officer-involved shooting that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has investigated this year.
Crump is expected to be joined at the press conference by not only Cure’s family but also Seth Miller, the director of the Innocence Project in Florida, the chapter of the national nonprofit group that worked to get Cure exonerated.
Miller said that Cure has just finalized purchasing his first home.
“When he left his mother’s house, he told her ‘I love you and I’ll be back to see you,’” Miller told the Sun Sentinel. “Next thing she knew, a law enforcement officer from Fort Pierce came to her door to tell her that her son was dead.”
Cure was shot to death by a deputy with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office during an ambiguously described highway traffic stop in which police claim he became aggressive after being told he was under arrest.
“When he got toward the back of the truck and he was going to be handcuffed, that’s when he turned violent,” Camden County Sheriff’s Capt. Larry Bruce told the Sun Sentinel.
Responding to questions sent by NewsOne, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said Tuesday that Cure was “stopped and placed under arrest for reckless driving and speeding,” but no further details were given. There is video footage of the incident, which the GBI said would not be immediately released.
The deputy who killed Cure was only identified as a white man who has been placed on administrative leave following the shooting per department protocol.
A press release from the GBI acknowledges that Cure “got out of the car at the deputy’s request” and “complied with the officer’s commands until learning that he was under arrest.”
Without going into detail, the GBI said Cure was “not complying” and “assaulted the deputy” after being tased. When Cure was tased again and “still did not comply,” the GBI said the “deputy pulled out his gun and shot Cure.”
It is unclear how Cure was allegedly “not complying” and whether such alleged actions warranted lethal force.
The GBI also said that “EMT’s treated Cure, but he later died.”
The GBI did not say, however, whether the deputy rendered any emergency aid to Cure before the reported “EMT’s” arrived at the scene, which presumably was not instantaneous.
Also conspicuously missing from the GBI’s press release is any further information about why “a Camden County deputy initiated a traffic stop on Interstate 95 Northbound, just south of Mile Marker 9 in Camden County, GA,” that led to Cure being shot to death. Notably, Cure was never described as being armed, making it unclear why the officer felt he had no point of recourse other than using lethal force.
Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said Cure had planned on attending college after Florida Ron DeSantis earlier this year approved a claim bill that gave Cure more than $800,000 to use toward his education because he was exonerated.
“Leonard was so excited that the Florida Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis had recently approved his claims bill. He had been working a job in security, he was hoping to go to college and wanted to work in broadcast radio production, he was buying his first home. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and all who knew him,” Pryor said.