ATLANTA, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Officials released video on Wednesday of the traffic stop and physical altercation that ended with a sheriff’s deputy shooting a black man at close range in Georgia.
Leonard Allan Cure, 53, died Monday after a Camden County sheriff’s deputy shot him; The officer has not been officially identified. Cure was exonerated in 2020 after being wrongfully convicted of armed robbery and spending 16 years in prison.
The case is the latest in a series of police shootings of unarmed black men that have raised questions about race relations and the use of police force in America.
His family has hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who has won millions of dollars in compensation for the families of others killed by police. Crump said at a news conference Wednesday that the officer acted too aggressively.
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office said in an online post the video was released based on rumors and misinformation, but did not elaborate.
A representative from the sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on Wednesday.
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office released three videos, one from the officer’s body camera and two from his vehicle’s camera, that show the officer pulling Cure over for speeding and immediately calling for him to get out of the car. The deputy later told Cure in the video that Cure was driving at 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) on Interstate 95 in south Georgia.
In the altercation, which lasted nearly three minutes, Cure argued with the deputy but complied with his command to get out of the truck and put his hands on the tailgate, the video shows.
Cure then fails to obey orders to put his hands behind his back, and the deputy shoots him with a Taser stun gun, the video shows. At that point, Cure and the deputy wrestled with each other, with both men grabbing each other’s faces and necks, the video shows.
Cure can be heard saying “Yeah, bitch” twice while the deputy says “sit down” several times, the video shows.
The deputy hits Cure with a baton and then fires a shot at close range with his service weapon, with a report being heard, according to the video.
After telling Cure to “stay down” after briefly struggling to sit up, he handcuffs Cure, who is lying on the asphalt, and begins to render aid, the video shows. Other uniformed personnel arrive and attempt to revive Cure with chest compressions, but his body is eventually loaded into an ambulance, the video shows.
Cure’s family watched the video Wednesday at a Georgia Bureau of Investigation office with their attorney, shortly before it was released by Camden County in southern Georgia.
At a news conference organized by Crump’s law firm and posted online, Cure’s brother, Wallace Cure, said there was “absolutely no reason why my brother was murdered because of a traffic stop.” They said Cure drove from Florida to his home in the Atlanta area after visiting his mother.
Crump accused the deputy of acting too aggressively from the start and possibly “triggering” Cure, who the family said was suffering from emotional distress due to his years in prison.
“We don’t understand why there weren’t further attempts to de-escalate the situation,” Crump said.
Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, Calif.; Edited by Noeleen Walder, Kat Stafford and Gerry Doyle
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