A Black man who spent 16 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a violent crime was shot and killed by police in Georgia on Monday.
Leonard Cure, 53, was killed after a sheriff’s deputy pulled him over in south-eastern Georgia’s Camden county early on Monday morning. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is examining the shooting.
Cure was released from prison in Florida in 2020 after a conviction review unit exonerated him of robbing a drug store in 2003.
The Innocence Project of Florida represented Cure in his exoneration case. The group’s executive director, Seth Miller, said he was devastated by news of the death.
“I can only imagine what it’s like to know your son is innocent and watch him be sentenced to life in prison, to be exonerated and … then be told that once he’s been freed, he’s been shot dead,” Miller told the Associated Press.
The GBI said in a statement that Cure’s vehicle was stopped by the deputy at about 7.30am in Camden county. The statement said the deputy had “initiated a traffic stop”, but the GBI did not give the reason for the stop.
Cure got out of the car “at the deputy’s request”, the GBI said.
“Cure complied with the officer’s commands until learning that he was under arrest,” the statement said.
The GBI’s statement said the deputy shocked Cure with a stun gun “after not complying with the deputy’s requests”. In its statement, the GBI accused Cure of assaulting the deputy, who shocked Cure with a stun gun a second time and struck him with a collapsible baton with which law enforcement officers are often equipped.
“However, Cure still did not comply,” the GBI’s statement alleged. “The deputy pulled out his gun and shot Cure.”
The GBI said emergency medical technicians treated Cure, but he later died.
Cure’s killing was the 80th “officer-involved” shooting in Georgia so far this year, according to the GBI. And it was the fourth police shooting in the past week.
In June, Cure was granted $817,000 in compensation for his conviction and imprisonment, along with educational benefits. Miller said Cure, who lived in a suburb of Atlanta, received the money in August.
Cure’s conviction in the 2003 drug store armed robbery came from a second jury after a previous one deadlocked. Cure was sentenced to life in prison because he had previous convictions for robbery and other crimes.
In 2020, the Broward county state attorney’s office conviction review unit asked a judge to release Cure from prison. The review unit said it found “troubling” revelations that Cure had solid alibis which were previously disregarded, and no physical evidence or solid witnesses actually put him at the scene.
Cure was released that April after his sentence was modified. And in December 2020, a judge vacated his conviction and sentence.
“I’m looking forward to putting this situation behind me and moving on with my life,” Cure told the South Florida Sun Sentinel at the time.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/oct/17/georgia-leonard-cure-killed-police US man wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years shot and killed by police | Georgia