Leonard Cure, who was wrongfully convicted and spent more than 16 years in prison before being released in 2020, was fatally shot on Monday by a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia during a traffic stop, reports the New York Times. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations is conducting an independent investigation of the shooting in Camden County. Cure, 53, was the first person exonerated by the Broward State Attorney’s Office Conviction Review Unit. He was represented by the Innocence Project of Florida. The bureau said that a Camden County deputy, who was not identified, initiated a traffic stop early Monday on Interstate 95, not far from the Florida state line. A spokesman for the Camden County sheriff said Cure was pulled over for speeding. He was driving at least 90 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was 70, the sheriff’s office said.
Cure got out of the car at the deputy’s request and was compliant until he was under arrest. “After not complying with the deputy’s request, the deputy tased Cure,” the bureau said. “Cure assaulted the deputy.” The deputy used a Taser a second time and a baton to subdue Cure, who still did not comply, according to the statement. “The deputy pulled out his gun and shot Cure. The Innocence Project of Florida said Cure was heading home after visiting his mother in South Florida when he was pulled over. Cure was convicted of the armed robbery of a Walgreens in Broward County in 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison because of prior convictions. In 2020, the Broward State Attorney’s Office Conviction Review Unit asked a judge to release Cure after the unit found problems with the case, incluiding how a suspect was identified and the fact that an alibi for Cure was never presented in court. He was exonerated based on findings of “actual innocence,” the Innocence Project of Florida said.