A man who was wrongly incarcerated for 16 years in Florida and then exonerated in 2020 was fatally shot on Monday by a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia during a traffic stop, officials said.
Leonard Cure, 53, was convicted of armed robbery in Florida in 2003 and spent over a decade behind bars, according to the Broward County State Attorney’s Office. Cure was the first person exonerated in 2020 as part of the state attorney’s office Conviction Review Unit after a re-investigation of the case found he was innocent.
Since being released Cure has been working a job in security in hopes to be able to attend college and work in broadcast radio production and was also in the process of buying his first home, the State Attorney’s Office said.
Just three years after his release, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation news release, Cure was fatally shot Monday morning by a Camden County deputy during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 Northbound.
Exonerated man killed by police in traffic stop
The GBI states that Cure got out of the car at the deputy’s request and complied with commands “until learning that he was under arrest.”
According to authorities, Cure refused to comply with the deputy's requests, and the deputy deployed a taser. They claim that Cure then “assaulted the deputy,” causing the deputy to use the Taser for a second time as well as a baton, but “Cure still did not comply.”
The deputy then pulled his gun and shot Cure. Cure was then treated by EMS and later died, the GBI said.
It is unclear what the cause of the traffic stop was or what Cure was being placed under arrest for.
The GBI stated that it will conduct an independent investigation into the deputy-involved fatal shooting. Then the case will go to the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.
According to the Innocence Project of Florida, which helped re-investigate Cure’s case, he was killed while on the way to his suburban residence in Georgia after visiting his mother in Florida.
“Lenny was a great person who had already lost 16 years of his life to wrongful incarceration. And now this. He and his family deserved better. Lenny’s life mattered. We are completely devastated,” the organization said on its website.
Cure sent in a petition in 2019 to The Conviction Review Unit and it began to review with the assistance from the Innocence Project of Florida. During the review, the State Attorney’s Office had “serious concerns” regarding Cure’s guilt and continued incarceration, he was then released on April 14, 2020.
The Conviction Review Unit discovered an ATM receipt that showed Cure was “miles away from the crime scene at the time of the robbery,” the Innocence Project of Florida said in a statement. It also discovered that the photo array shown to one of the victims had multiple photos of Cure and “was therefore an unreliable, suggestive identification procedure.”
Prosecutors continued to investigate his case and presented its findings to the Independent Review Panel. The panel and the State Attorney’s Office established that Cure was innocent and his conviction was overturned in December 2020.
Harold F. Pryor, a Broward State Attorney, mourned Cure’s death on Tuesday.
“The Leonard we knew was a smart, funny and kind person,” Pryor said in a statement. Following Cure’s release he visited the prosecutors office and participated in training to help staff “do their jobs in the fairest and most thorough way possible,” he said.
Pryor also stated that Cure was “excited” that the Florida Legislature and governor had “recently approved his claims bill.” Cure was set to receive $817,000 in compensation from the State of Florida for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
“He would frequently call to check in on Assistant State Attorney Arielle Demby Berger, the head of the Conviction Review Unit, and offer our team encouragement to continue to do the important work of justice,” Pryor continued in the statement.
- Baton Rouge Police Tortured Detainees in ‘Brave Cave,’ Lawsuits Claim ›
- A Grad Student Was Fatally Struck by a Police Car. What an Officer Said About Her After Has Sparked Outrage ›
- Alabama Band Director Tased by Police at Football Game Speaks Out ›
- Ohio Police Deploy Canine on Unarmed Black Man ›
- Elijah McClain: Second Police Officer Acquitted in Killing ›