A man who was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted and serving more than more than 16 years for a crime he did not commit was fatally shot by a Georgia deputy during a traffic stop on Monday, according to a statement from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI).
The GBI identified that man, who is Black, as Leonard Allan Cure, 53. Cure was the first person exonerated by the Broward State Attorney’s Office Conviction Review Unit and his case was represented by the Innocence Project of Florida.
The bureau, which is conducting an independent investigation of the shooting in Camden County, said that the officer pulled over Cure on Monday morning along Interstate 95 in Camden County near the Florida border. Cure got out of his car upon a deputy’s request and complied until he learned he would be arrested, according to the press release. “After not complying with the deputy’s requests, the deputy tased Cure,” the statement read. “Cure assaulted the deputy. The deputy used the Taser for a second time and an ASP baton; however, Cure still did not comply. The deputy pulled out his gun and shot Cure. EMT’s treated Cure, but he later died.”
The Innocence Project of Florida said in a statement that Cure was on his way home after visiting his mother in South Florida before he was pulled over.
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
In a Facebook post, the sheriff’s office criticized the news media and community rumors for having “provided the public with misinformation.”
“It is common for rumors to occur, but blatant false information by some media representatives should not be tolerated,” read the post, which did not specify what rumors or misinformation it was addressing.
In 2003, Cure was convicted of the armed robbery of a Walgreens in Broward County and because of prior convictions, Cure was sentenced to life in prison in 2004. The Broward State Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Review Unit asked a judge for his release in 2020, the Sun Sentinel reported. Cure’s convictions were vacated by a judge in 2020, who exonerated him and ordered his release from prison after 16 years.
In June, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a claims bill that gave Cure $817,000 in compensation for his wrongful conviction and incarceration.
“The Leonard we knew was a smart, funny and kind person,” Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said in a statement. “After he was freed and exonerated by our office, he visited prosecutors at our office and participated in training to help our staff do their jobs in the fairest and most thorough way possible.”
“He had been working a job in security, he was hoping to go to college and wanted to work in broadcast radio production,” Pryor said. “He was buying his first home.”