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This Did Not Have To Happen

There is a deep sadness one feels when learning about the death of Lenny Cure. Links to news articles are below. While we do not have all of the facts, those within the wrongful conviction community have a gut feeling about the emotional vulnerability of those who have had years of their lives ripped from them unjustly. We know how emotionally fragile exonerees are. For those who cannot make sense of a situation that resulted in unexplainable deprivation of their freedom, the mere prospect that such a thing could happen again can produce a wave of terror that few of us can imagine.

One exoneree told me about panic attacks he had leaving a department store headed for his car with his shopping cart filled with items when suddenly the thought entered his mind "What if they think I'm stealing this shopping cart?". Another told me about sitting in a restaurant feeling like everyone is looking at him, the cashier keeping an eye out in case he tries to leave without paying the bill. Any encounter with law enforcement FOR WHATEVER REASON may make a "normal" person apprehensive. We can not fathom what a wrongfully convicted person feels. One friend told me that she would kill herself before going back to prison.

An APNews reporter said, "Miller, who worked to help Cure win freedom, said he’s seen dozens of exonerated clients grapple with “an overarching fear that at any moment the cops are going to come” and take them back to jail or prison."

"Cure was stopped because he was driving at least 90 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was 70, the New York Times reported, citing a sheriff's department spokesperson." I doubt there is a single person reading this who has not been guilty of this exact same "crime" but today you and I are still able to read this article in the comfort of our homes. Lenny is not.

We do not know what prompted the officer to announce to Mr. Cure that he was under arrest. The media release indicates that things were relatively calm and cooperative up until that point. The officer likely would have had no idea how Lenny would react. Could the officer have de-escalated the situation? Of course, he could have. Could he have used other non-lethal means of subduing Lenny? Of course, he could have. Not knowing the facts, one should refrain from an uninformed condemnation of the officer. But even without the facts, one has a deep, deep sadness that this did not have to happen.


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