LISTEN: Camden County Sheriff's Deputy Buck Aldridge filed his response to a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Leonard Cure. GPB's Benjamin Payne reports.

Leonard Cure, seen here in a photo provided by the Innocence Project of Florida, was exonerated in 2020 of an armed robbery c

Leonard Cure, seen here in a photo provided by the Innocence Project of Florida, was exonerated in 2020 of an armed robbery conviction in Florida, before being killed last year during a traffic stop in Camden County, Ga.

Credit: Innocence Project of Florida

A white sheriff's deputy in rural Southeast Georgia has responded to a federal lawsuit filed against him by the family of Leonard Cure, a wrongfully convicted Black man from metro Atlanta who he fatally shot during a traffic stop last year along Interstate 95 just north of the Georgia-Florida border.

In a new court filing, Camden County Sheriff's Deputy Buck Aldridge denied allegations made in the wrongful death case brought by Cure's mother, Mary Cure, that Aldridge used excessive and deadly force against her son after pulling him over for speeding in October 2023.

The police killing sparked national outrage, as Cure had recently been exonerated in 2020 after spending 16 years in Florida prison for an armed robbery he did not commit.

After the 53-year-old's death, his family filed a civil lawsuit against Aldridge and Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor, who is also white, seeking more than $16 million in damages and arguing that the two had violated Cure's constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

Although Proctor was not involved in the traffic stop, he was named as a defendant in the lawsuit for having hired Aldridge in 2018, less than one year after Aldridge was fired from his previous job as a police officer in Kingsland, Ga., for violating the department's use of force policy.

In their response, the defendants admit that Aldridge had been fired from the Kingsland Police Department for violating its use of force policy, but deny the Cure family's claim that Proctor “knew or should have known” that Aldridge “had a propensity for violence and had a history of using unlawful force and excessive force while on duty as a law enforcement officer.”

Other allegations denied by Aldridge and Proctor include the plaintiff's claim that Cure was complying with Aldridge's order to place his hands behind his back, before the deputy stun-gunned him “without any justification to do so.”

As shown on police video of the incident, a physical struggle between the two ensued, ending in Aldridge shooting his gun at Cure.

Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump — who is among the plaintiff's legal counsel in the case — said in October after the release of the footage that there “are things in the video that are very troubling from both perspectives,” referring to Aldridge and Cure.

Among the legal defenses asserted by the defendants in their response to the lawsuit is “qualified immunity,” a controversial legal doctrine which shields law enforcement officers from financial damages.

Aldridge and Proctor have asked the court to dismiss the case and to assess all legal costs against the plaintiff.

The lawsuit was filed in Brunswick federal court and is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood, who in 2022 presided over another high-profile civil rights case in which a jury convicted three white men of hate crimes in their murder of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery.