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Family of exonerated Black man killed by Georgia deputy is suing deputy, sheriff

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The family of a Black man shot and killed by a Georgia police officer during a traffic stop in October sued Tuesday, accusing the officer of using excessive force and the sheriff who hired him ignoring the officer’s criminal history. , filed a federal lawsuit seeking more than $16 million in damages. violence.

Leonard Cure, 53, was killed three years after Florida authorities released him after he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for an armed robbery he committed.

The civil suit, filed in U.S. District Court, comes after Cure died on Oct. 16 in a scuffle with a Camden County sheriff’s sergeant. Buck Aldridge stopped him for speeding on Interstate 95.

“It’s a terrible day when citizens have to police the police,” Leonard’s mother, Mary Cure, said at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in coastal Brunswick on Tuesday.

Laken Riley’s murder suspect lived within a 5-minute walk of the Uga crime scene.

Law enforcement renders aid to Leonard Cure, 53, after an altercation with a Camden County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, in Camden County, Georgia. (Camden County Sheriff’s Office, via Associated Press)

The lawsuit names Aldridge and Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor as defendants and alleges they violated Cure’s constitutional rights. The lawsuit alleges Aldridge used excessive force during the traffic stop, shocking Cure with a Taser before Cure began to physically retaliate.

It also states that by hiring Mr. Aldridge and keeping him in uniform despite a past history of unlawful use of force, the sheriff’s office “through willful indifference caused unnecessary risk and serious harm or death.” It claims to have created a risk.

Aldridge’s lawyer, Adrian Browning, previously said Aldridge was a “decent police officer” who shot and killed Cure in self-defense.

Dash camera and body camera footage of the incident shows Aldridge shocking Cure with a Taser after he refused to put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed. Cure then fights back and puts his hand on his deputy’s throat before Aldridge shoots him at close range.

Police dashcam video shows an altercation between Cure and the officer during the traffic stop.

Police dashcam footage shows a traffic stop involving a sheriff’s deputy and Leonard Cure on Monday, October 16, 2023 in Camden County, Georgia. (Camden County Sheriff’s Office, via Associated Press)

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation after the shooting, which is common in shootings involving law enforcement officers in the state. Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Keith Higgins is still reviewing the GBI’s findings and has not decided whether to file criminal charges, spokeswoman Cheryl DiPrizio said.

“There is no need to wait for the district attorney’s office before moving forward,” said civil rights attorney Harry Daniels, who is suing on behalf of Cure’s family.

Mr. Aldridge has been assigned administrative duties for the sheriff’s Fleet Maintenance Bureau pending the prosecution’s decision.

Four Chinese nationals and one U.S. resident were allegedly found in Georgia with marijuana plants worth $22.5 million.

Staff Sergeant Buck Aldridge

Staff Sergeant Buck Aldridge (pictured) is accused of using excessive force and being unfit to act as a law enforcement officer in a lawsuit filed by Cure’s family. (Camden County Sheriff’s Office, via Associated Press)

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Mr. Cure’s relatives said his resistance was likely due to psychological trauma from his time in prison for armed robbery in Florida. Authorities acquitted him and released him in 2020.

Lawyers for Cure’s family say Sheriff Proctor should never have hired Aldridge after he was fired from the neighboring Kingsland Police Department in 2017 following his third reprimand for excessive force. Stated. Mr. Proctor hired him nine months later, according to personnel records.

Footage from the June 2022 chase that ended in the crash shows Aldridge punching the driver while he was on his back as he pulled him from the wrecked car. Records show no disciplinary action was taken against the deputy in the incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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