Civil rights attorneys Benjamin Crump and Harry Daniels held a press conference Tuesday to announce their intentions to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of Leonard Cure, who was fatally shot weeks ago by a Georgia deputy just after being released from 16 years of wrongful imprisonment.
Cure was stopped by Camden County Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge on Oct. 15 for a speeding ticket. According to the body camera footage, Cure complied with the commands of the officer to step out of the vehicle. But after refusing to place his hands behind his back, the two got into a scuffle. Aldridge is seen deploying his taser in close proximity to Cure and two wrestle to the ground, resulting in Aldridge firing his service weapon. Cure died on the scene.
A History of Abuse
In the press conference, attorney Daniels said Aldridge had quite the track record of excessive force complaints dating back to 2014, which he said should have disqualified him from even working with the Camden County Sheriff’s Department.
Read from their statement:
Aldridge was fired from a different Georgia police department in 2017 after throwing an unarmed woman to the ground during a traffic stop and handcuffing her. More recently, additional video surfaced of a 2022 incident where Aldridge intentionally struck 17-year-old Waymon Cash in the face while Mr. Cash was unarmed, laying on his back and not resisting, before repeatedly tasing him.
Most of Aldridge’s mess was during his tenure at a previous police department, the attorneys said. Following one incident, he was suspended, assigned mandated counseling, given probation and sent for remedial training. Aldridge was finally fired in 2022.
However, Seth Miller with The Innocence Project of Florida told reporters that Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor knew Aldridge had prior violations but didn’t know what for (insert face palm emoji).
In Cure’s case, Daniels insisted fatal force could have been avoided if wasn’t for the “rogue officer.” While some believe Cure incited the altercation, Daniels suggests otherwise.
“Before Leonard had an opportunity to put his hands up, [Aldridge] tased him. In the state of Georgia, any unlawful use of force against you can be repelled with lawful force. The first person who initiated some type of force was Buck Aldridge,” Daniels said. “The law supports [Cure’s] response but what he found that day is that… [Aldridge] decided he was going to escalate.”
Per the notice of intent to sue, the estate of Leonard Cure demands $16 million in compensation. Aside from money, justice looks like criminal accountability, as his family stated Tuesday.
“I want justice for my brother and justice for my brother looks like this guy going to jail for at least 16 years, which is what my brother served for doing nothing,” said Michael, Cure’s brother.