A traffic officer in Georgia, US shot and killed a man who was exonerated from crimes after spending almost 16 years in prison.
Leonard Allan Cure, 53, was shot and killed by a Camden County Sheriff’s Deputy during a traffic stop on Monday, October 16, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has confirmed.
Police investigators said the incident happened around 7.30am on Monday morning on Interstate-95.
According to the Innocence Project of Florida, Cure was returning home after visiting his mother.
Investigators have not revealed the reason why Cure was pulled over in the first place.
According to a preliminary investigation, Cure got out of his car and followed instructions from the arresting officer.
He stopped following commands when he learned he was under arrest.
‘After not complying with the deputy’s requests, the deputy Tasered Cure.. Cure assaulted the deputy,’ the GBI said in a statement.
It is currently unclear how Cure assaulted the arresting officer.
‘The deputy used the Taser for a second time and an ASP baton; however, Cure still did not comply,’ the statement continued.
‘The deputy pulled out his gun and shot Cure.’First responders treated Cure at the scene, but he was later pronounced dead.
Cure was the first person exonerated by the Broward State Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Review Unit in 2020.
In 2003, he was arrested and accused of robbing a Walgreens pharmacy in Dania Beach at gunpoint.Investigators identified Cure as a suspect through a police lineup.
According to the Innocence Project of Florida, the suspects for the lineup were gathered in a ‘highly unethical way, through combing a law enforcement database of people who had previous interactions with law enforcement.’
Cure provided police with a solid alibi. The same morning of the robbery, Cure dropped his girlfriend’s children off at school, took out money from an ATM, then showed up for his construction job on time.
Police investigators were able to produce no physical or forensic evidence tying Cure to the crime.
Cure’s first trial resulted in a hung jury, and prosecutors offered him a deal to plead guilty in exchange for seven years in prison. He refused, insisting he was innocent.
A second trial found him guilty of assault with a firearm. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The Conviction Review Unit chose to take a second look at Cure’s case due to all of the inconsistencies with the investigation and prosecution.
They filed a memorandum recommending his release in April 2020.
Cure was finally released on time served.
A judge vacated Cure’s conviction in December 2020, and the Broward State Attorney’s Office dropped all charges against him three days later – fully exonerating him after 16 years.
Earlier this year, Cure was approved for a historic compensation from the state of Florida.
He received $817,000 for his conviction and imprisonment, and was also given educational benefits to help build his career.