A Kansas City, Missouri, police detective has been found guilty of the 2019 killing of a Black father of three. The cop involved in the fatal shooting was the first white officer to face a criminal trial for killing a Black person in the city since 1942.
Justice seems to have been served in the Missouri case, as the 43-year-old Eric DeValkenaere was convicted in a bench trial of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action.
Eric DeValkenaere, 43, is charged with involuntary manslaughter after 26-year-old Cameron Lamb as he sat in a pickup truck in his own backyard on Dec. 3, 2019. Photo: 41 Action News/ YouTube screenshot.
Jackson County Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs gave his guilty verdict on Friday, Nov. 19, the same day as the Kyle Rittenhouse trial results, where the 18-year-old was found not guilty on all charges in connection with his shooting three men, two fatally, at the Jacob Blake uprisings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020.
Twitter took note.
“Wow. Barely an hour after Rittenhouse. In KC, the first white officer in 80 years to face charges for the shooting death of a Black man has been found guilty. In 2019, Eric DeValkenaere went into 29 y.o Cameron Lamb’s backyard w/o a warrant and killed him.” posted Aaron Randle.
561 miles away from Kenosha, this Kansas City judge held the shooter responsible for his actions.
A little under two years ago in December 2019, Cameron Lamb was shot in a pickup truck on his own property by Detective DeValkenaere. Lamb had been tracked to the property after a police helicopter observed him chasing his girlfriend as she sped away from him in her Mustang.
DeValkenaere claimed that Lamb pointed his firearm at another detective and he shot him in order to save his colleague’s life. He testified at trial: “I’m thinking, ‘I can’t let this happen, I can’t let him shoot Troy.’” Troy Schwalm is the other detective.
However, this theory was rebutted at trial, when the prosecution maintained that the 26-year-old Lamb did not have a gun on him when he was shot, despite one being recovered at the crime scene on the floor of the garage underneath Lamb’s arm dangling outside the driver’s side window.
Another officer who was first to arrive on the scene testified he did not see a gun on the ground. Prosecution made the case that the scene may have been staged with a planted gun, arguing that Lamb was only holding his phone.
The officer has been suspended without pay pending termination by the Kansas City Police Department.
Attorney Lee Merritt, who spoke for the Lamb family, said, “Today will not bring him back. Justice is going to be short, but this is momentous. This is historic. And it means something.”
Lamb’s mother Laurie Bey echoed her lawyer’s sentiment by sharing that she simply misses her son, “I miss my baby.”
“This just did not have to be. It did not have to be,” she continued. “My son was at his home and he was minding his own business when they took it upon themselves to go into the backyard. He was very needed not only to his family but to the community.”
This case was one of many that put a national spotlight on this particular police department, hoping to push the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police to consider reform.
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