Deputy Cleared in Fatal Shooting Previously Dismissed for Excessive Force, Sparking Concern Over Sheriff’s Oversight

by Michael Nguyen
Police Misconduct

Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge’s recent fatal shooting of Leonard Cure during a traffic stop was not his first violent encounter while on duty as a Camden County sheriff’s deputy. Aldridge, involved in a previous violent incident during a traffic stop on Interstate 95, was captured on camera assaulting a driver. Despite this, disciplinary measures were not taken.

Aldridge’s employment history reveals a troubling pattern. He was terminated from a police department in the same Georgia county in August 2017 for aggressive conduct during a traffic stop. Nevertheless, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office employed him less than a year later.

During an October incident, Aldridge pulled over Cure for speeding. The situation escalated, leading Aldridge to use a Taser on Cure, a 53-year-old Black man. A physical altercation ensued, captured on body and dash camera footage, during which Cure grabbed Aldridge’s throat before being fatally shot by the deputy.

Cure’s family attributes his resistance to the psychological impact of being wrongly imprisoned for 16 years for a crime he did not commit. He was exonerated and released in 2020.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is examining Cure’s death, with Aldridge’s attorney claiming the video evidence supports self-defense. However, there are growing concerns about Aldridge’s suitability for police work due to his history of aggression.

Timothy Bessent Sr., the NAACP chapter president in Camden County, has expressed strong criticism, questioning Aldridge’s continued service on the police force. These concerns are echoed by the AP’s examination of Aldridge’s personnel records and incidents involving him.

Aldridge, a former U.S. Marine, had a notable record at the Kingsland Police Department, including disciplinary actions for unnecessary force. He was transparent about his dismissal when hired by the sheriff’s office in May 2018.

Retired police Maj. Neill Franklin highlighted the risks of hiring officers with histories of excessive force, noting such individuals would likely not be employed by certain police departments.

The case also sheds light on the perceived tolerance of excessive force under Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor’s leadership. Proctor, in office for over a decade, has not commented on the situation.

The issue extends beyond Aldridge, with several Camden County deputies being indicted and fired for violence against detainees and a motorist in recent incidents. These include charges against jail guards for assaulting a detainee and the indictment of Deputy Christine Newman for aggravated assault, despite being honored as “Deputy of the Month.”

Experts like retired Police Chief Louis Dekmar have criticized the apparent culture of leniency towards excessive force within the sheriff’s office. This trend has led to significant financial repercussions for Camden County, with increased liability deductibles for insurance claims.

Aldridge is currently on administrative leave pending the investigation into Cure’s death. Despite the controversy, his attorney, Adrienne Browning, maintains that Aldridge acted in self-defense.

Criticism also comes from experts on police conduct. Thaddeus Johnson, a former Memphis police officer and criminal justice professor, censured Aldridge’s approach to law enforcement, stressing the need for higher standards of conduct among officers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Police Misconduct

Who is Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge?

Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge is a Camden County sheriff’s deputy with a history of violent encounters during traffic stops, including a recent fatal shooting of Leonard Cure.

What was the incident involving Leonard Cure?

Leonard Cure was fatally shot by Deputy Aldridge during a traffic stop after a confrontation escalated, involving Aldridge using a Taser and Cure resisting arrest.

What is known about Aldridge’s previous conduct?

Aldridge was previously fired from another police department for excessive force and had multiple violent encounters, including an incident where he assaulted a driver on Interstate 95.

How has the Camden County Sheriff’s Office responded to Aldridge’s conduct?

The Sheriff’s Office, led by Sheriff Jim Proctor, hired Aldridge despite his history and has not publicly commented on his conduct. Critics have raised concerns about the office’s tolerance of excessive force.

What has been the legal response to the shooting of Leonard Cure?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is examining Cure’s death, and Aldridge’s attorney claims self-defense. However, there is public scrutiny and debate over the justification of the shooting.

Are there other incidents of excessive force in Camden County?

Yes, several Camden County deputies have been indicted and fired for violence against detainees and motorists, indicating a broader issue of excessive force within the Sheriff’s Office.

More about Police Misconduct

  • Camden County Sheriff’s Department
  • Leonard Cure Case Investigation
  • Staff Sgt. Buck Aldridge’s Background
  • Police Misconduct and Accountability
  • Excessive Force in Law Enforcement
  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation Reports
  • NAACP Chapter in Camden County
  • Legal Perspectives on Police Shootings
  • Camden County Insurance and Liability Issues
  • Recent Indictments of Camden County Deputies

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GeorgiaPeach November 23, 2023 - 10:21 pm

this is why people don’t trust the police. There’s gotta be change in how these things are handled, it’s not right.

Jenny42 November 24, 2023 - 2:55 am

This is really concerning, how can a deputy with such a history still be on the force? It’s like they never learn…

ConcernedCitizen November 24, 2023 - 3:02 am

Its a sad story all around. Cure’s past, Aldridge’s history… seems like a lot went wrong here.

TruthSeeker November 24, 2023 - 4:49 am

This article really opens your eyes to the issues in our law enforcement. There needs to be stricter oversight.

Mike_in_GA November 24, 2023 - 6:49 am

wow, Aldridge’s past should’ve been a red flag? how did he even get rehired?

CamdenResident November 24, 2023 - 11:40 am

I’ve heard about Aldridge before, this isn’t new. The sheriff’s office needs to do better, it’s not just about one deputy.

LegalEagle November 24, 2023 - 3:54 pm

The legal implications here are huge. If Aldridge was known for excessive force, why wasn’t this addressed earlier?


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