Deadly shooting sparks fears over officer's historical conduct

(MENAFN) Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge, a deputy with the Camden County Sheriff's Office, is under intense scrutiny after a fatal shooting during a roadside struggle with Leonard Cure, whom Aldridge had pulled over for speeding. This incident isn't the first time a routine traffic stop involving Aldridge has escalated into violence. In a previous case last year, Aldridge was involved in a pursuit on Interstate 95 where he forcibly removed a driver from a crashed vehicle and was captured on body and dash camera footage punching the individual. Despite the disturbing incident, records indicate that Aldridge faced no disciplinary action.

A closer look at Aldridge's personnel records reveals a troubling pattern. In August 2017, he was fired by a police department in the same Georgia county for throwing a woman to the ground and handcuffing her during a traffic stop. Alarmingly, the Camden County Sheriff's Office hired him just nine months later, raising questions about the hiring practices and oversight in place.

The fatal encounter with Leonard Cure unfolded on October 16 during a routine traffic stop for speeding. Body and dash camera footage captured Aldridge shocking Cure with a Taser after he resisted arrest. In a struggle, Cure had a hand at the deputy's throat when Aldridge shot him point-blank. Relatives have attributed Cure's resistance to psychological trauma resulting from spending 16 years wrongfully imprisoned for armed robbery in Florida. Exonerated and freed in 2020, Cure's tragic death has reignited concerns about excessive use of force and the need for comprehensive police reform.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is actively looking into Cure's death, with the findings set to be submitted to prosecutors. Aldridge's attorney asserts that the video evidence supports self-defense claims, but critics, including Timothy Bessent Sr., president of Camden County’s NAACP chapter, argue that Aldridge should never have been in a position of authority given his history of aggression. The incident brings to light broader questions about the accountability and oversight mechanisms within law enforcement agencies.



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