A wrongfully convicted man who spent more than 16 years in prison before being released in 2020 was fatally shot Monday by a Georgia sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop, authorities said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is leading an independent investigation into the Camden County shooting, identified the man, who was black, as Leonard Allan Cure, 53.
Mr. Cure was the first person acquitted by the Broward State Attorney’s Office. His case was also represented by the Florida Innocence Project.
Bureau said in a press release that a Camden County deputy, who has not been identified, initiated a traffic stop early Monday on Interstate 95, not far from the Florida state line. It was not immediately clear why Mr Cure was withdrawn.
Mr. Cure exited the car at the request of deputies and was compliant until he was arrested.
“After he did not act on the request of the deputy, the deputy tasted the girls,” said the Bureau. “Kure attacked the deputy.”
The deputy used a taser and baton a second time to subdue Mr. Cure, who still did not comply, the statement said. “The deputy drew his gun and shot Cure,” the bureau said. “The Cure was treated by an EMT, but he later died.”
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Tuesday.
The results of the GBI investigation will be forwarded to the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office for review.
The Florida Innocence Project it is stated in the announcement that Mr. Cure was on his way home after visiting his mother in South Florida when he was pulled over.
Mr. Cure was convicted of the armed robbery of a Walgreens in Broward County in 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison because of his prior convictions.
In 2020, the Broward State Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Review Unit asked a judge to release Mr. Leak after the unit discovered problems with the case, according to The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Those concerns included how the suspect was identified and the fact that an alibi for Mr. Cure was never presented in court.
Mr. Cure was released and acquitted in December 2020 based on a finding of “actual innocence,” the Innocence Project of Florida said. Officials determined that the evidence, in the form of an ATM receipt, proved that Mr. Cure was miles away from the crime scene at the time of the robbery.
Investigators looking into the case also found that a photo array shown to one of the victims contained multiple photos of Mr. Cure and as a result was an unreliable and suggestive identification procedure, the project said.
“The Leonard we knew was a smart, funny and kind person,” Broward State’s Attorney Harold F. Pryor it is stated in the announcement. “After he was exonerated and cleared by our office, he visited prosecutors in our office and participated in training to help our staff do their jobs in the most fair and thorough manner possible.”
In June, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida approved a claims bill that awarded Mr. Cure $817,000 and educational benefits for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment, The Sun Sentinel reports.
Mr Cure was awarded compensation in August.
“He was working in security, he was hoping to go to college and he wanted to work in radio production, Mr. Pryor said. “He was buying his first home.”