This article contains graphic and violent imagery that some readers and viewers may find uncomfortable.
A Georgia police department on Wednesday released video footage from the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black driver during a traffic stop on Monday morning.
Camden County Sheriff’s Office made public three separate videos that showed Leonard Allan Cure – the driver who had in recent years been exonerated for crimes he never committed after serving 16 years in prison – being tased and shot in about two minutes by an officer whose anger and aggressiveness was apparent from the start of the traffic stop that quickly escalated matters into a deadly police encounter.
In the videos, which consist of footage recorded from the police car dashboard and body cameras, the officer immediately upon exiting his vehicle yells at Cure, 53, whose hands can be seen outside of the driver’s side window.
“STEP OUT! GET OUT!” the officer yells before he’s even in view of the dash cam recording, let alone near Cure’s vehicle door.
As Cure complied and got out of his pickup truck, he initially refused orders to put his hands on the back of the vehicle and questioned who the officer was.
“Put your damn hands back here,” the cop snapped back.
When Cure didn’t respond immediately, the officer drew his Taser on Cure and threatened to shoot it.
That’s when Cure, who at this point had still not been told why he was pulled over, raised his arms above his head and walked slowly to the back of his truck and put his hands on the back.
When Cure did not “turn around” to the officer’s apparent satisfaction, he called for backup and threatened again to use the Taser.
“Why am I getting tased?” Cure asked in a question that finally prompted the officer to finally tell the driver he was being arrested for “speeding and reckless driving.”
Cure, whose truck was shown passing the officer’s cruiser on the highway, was driving “100 miles per hour,” the officer told him.
When Cure said the offense should only merit a ticket, the officer said that “tickets in the state of Georgia are criminal offenses.”
Cure again refused to place his hands behind his back, prompting the officer to shoot the Taser, which appeared to have no effect. Cure reacted by trying to pull out the Taser’s prongs as he and the officer engaged in a physical struggle during which they went to the ground wrestling.
That’s when the officer shot Cure. The officer handcuffed Cure and did not provide immediate emergency medical aid as the driver of a Brink’s truck pulled alongside and also held Cure at gunpoint. The officer and another who arrived as a backup ultimately tried to employ life-saving medical aid on Cure, but it was too late. Cure was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The video footage from the fatal traffic top can be viewed by clicking here.
“The video will show the traffic offenses of speeding over 100 mph and Reckless Driving which occurred prior to the body camera video of the Deputy’s encounter with Leonard Cure,” the Camden County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook. “Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor, along with District Attorney Keith Higgins of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, and GBI Agents investigating the case decided this morning to make the videos available for public review in an effort to be completely transparent as to what happened, and how the incident escalated to the point of extreme Use of Force.”
On Tuesday, civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced he had been retained by Cure’s family.
Cure’s mother said during a press conference on Wednesday that she knew “police killed him” when she saw law enforcement arrive at her home on Monday to inform her what had happened, the Sun Sentinel reported.
“Before they could tell me,” Mary Cure told reporters hours before the videos were released. “Because I lived in fear and so did he.”
Crump and Cure’s brother said the officer was aggressive from the start and never tried to quell the situation.
Noting how it was “tragic that there wasn’t an attempt to deescalate the matter from the beginning,” Crump suggested police tactics that were employed contributed to Cure’s death.
“When you have escalation met with escalation, nothing good comes out of it,” Crump added. “When an officer said, ‘I’m going to arrest you and take you to jail,’ he was triggered psychologically.”
Cure’s brother, Michael Cure, offered a similar sentiment.
“The officer got out of the car extremely aggressive, yelling and screaming commands, and my brother complied,” he said. “He did comply, so after watching the video, I do believe things could have been handled differently, but I also believe the officer got out being extremely aggressive.”
Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said Cure had planned on attending college after Florida Gov. 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.
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.”
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