JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A retired officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is weighing in on a deadly encounter between a 53-year-old man being pulled over for reckless driving and a Camden County sergeant.
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office released body and dash cam footage on its YouTube page Wednesday of the Monday morning incident that has since gained national attention. (Viewer discretion is strongly advised.)
Dash cam footage shows 53-year-old Leonard Cure speeding on Interstate 95 in a silver Ram truck going what the CCSO Staff Sergeant who pulled him over said was over 100 miles per hour.
Less than a minute later, Cure pulled over on the side of the road.
The sergeant then exited his cruiser and yelled at Cure to “Step out! Get out!” and to put his hands on the back of his truck.
Cure then got out of the truck and said, “I ain’t doing s***,” and pulled his hand away when the deputy went to grab it.
James Brown, a retired JSO officer, analyzed the video.
“I think the approach is all wrong, just based on the fact that you’re stopping based on your observation so until you find out more, why not explain to this citizen what he’s done,” Brown said.
Brown said the officer should have called for backup sooner.
“You see the guy driving carelessly, he’s not able to maintain a single lane and it’s almost as if he’s distracted driving,” Brown explained. “That would give you an indication that maybe he’s on the phone, maybe some kind of intoxicating drugs, you don’t know. So rather than calling for backup or assistance once he’s gotten out of the car I would say standard police procedure would have dictated he should have went ahead and called for backup.”
“There was nothing that I could see that would mandate you immediately get out of this car and confront the driver,” Brown said. “It would not have hurt him to take two or three minutes in the car, calling for additional backup because of the circumstance.”
Both viewpoints of the incident show Cure and the sergeant getting into a physical fight after the sergeant tries to tase him. The sergeant then tries to fight him off with a baton and eventually, he reaches for his gun.
In the video, you don’t hear the gunshots but Cure falls to the ground.
Even though Brown said the officer should have approached the situation differently, he says he was within his right to use force against Cure.
“The officer made the decision that he’s going to make the arrest and he’s trying to convey that to the individual and the individual is not complying with the commands,” Brown said.
Brown said once Cure wouldn’t comply with the deputy’s commands, the deputy was within his right to use force.
“At this point, he’s authorized to use deadly force to overcome this individual’s resistance, and use of force has been escalated because he tried non-lethal and obviously it didn’t work,” Brown said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the shooting.