CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – The recent deadly traffic stop that took the life of 53-year-old Leonard Cure near Camden County has left questions and harsh criticisms in its wake. Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge, the sheriff’s deputy responsible for killing Cure, had previously sparked similar controversies with his aggressive behavior in previous traffic stops. Last year, body and dash camera footage show Aldridge on Interstate 95 punching a driver as he dragged him from his car, after a chase involving the same deputy. Despite these documented incidents, Aldridge faced no disciplinary action. Before joining the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, Aldridge was fired from a police department in the same Georgia county for throwing a woman to the ground and handcuffing her during a traffic stop.
Aldridge’s encounter with Cure in October 2022 ended in Cure being Tasered and fatally shot after struggling with the deputy during the traffic stop. Cure, a Black man, had served 16 years in prison in Florida for a wrongfully convicted armed robbery. Due to the psychological trauma of this wrongful imprisonment, relatives suspect this led to him resisting the traffic stop caused by Aldridge’s unprofessional behavior. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating Cure’s death and will submit its findings to prosecutors.
The GBI gathered personnel records for Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge, ex-marine, who worked with the Kingsland Police Department before transitioning to the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. Aldridge faced disciplinary action for using unnecessary force in 2014 and 2017 with the Kingsland Police Department. After repeated infractions, the department fired Aldridge. The decision to hire Aldridge despite his history of aggressive behavior draws criticism from multiple sources.
Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor, who has been sheriff for a decade, declined to comment on the situation. Notably, however, six Camden County deputies have been indicted for violence against jail detainees and a motorist, sparking concerns about increased tolerance of unnecessary violence by the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. The county was dropped by its insurance company due to the spike in claims involving the sheriff’s office, though new policies at the county that followed up increased the deductible for liability from $25,000 to $250,000.
Aldridge was placed on administrative leave during the investigation into Cure’s death, but his attorney, Adrienne Browning, argues that Aldridge acted in self-defense during the fatal confrontation. Video footage from the traffic stop showed Cure being Tasered after complying, leading to a struggle during which Aldridge shot Cure. The footage captures the intense skirmish before the fatal shooting occurred.