WRITTEN AND CONTRIBUTED BY COY MALONE
What You Need to Know:
Former Kansas City, MO police detective Eric DeValkenaere, who is White, was convicted in the 2019 killing of 26-year-old Black man Cameron Lamb and has now been sentenced to six years in prison.
Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs previously found DeValkenaere guilty of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in November 2021. After hearing testimonies from members of Lamb’s and DeValkenaere’s families March 4, Judge Youngs sentenced the former detective to three years in prison on the involuntary manslaughter conviction and six years on the armed criminal action conviction. The sentences to run concurrently.
DeValkenaere is thought to be the first Kansas City law enforcement officer since 1941 to stand trial for fatally shooting a Black man. The police officer in the 1941 case was acquitted.
Jackson County prosecutors alleged that DeValkenaere recklessly shot Lamb December 3, 2019, as he was backing a red pickup truck into his garage at 41st Street and College Avenue. A police helicopter had just spotted a red truck chasing a purple Mustang at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour through a residential neighborhood. DeValkenaere entered Lamb’s property without a search or arrest warrant and fired his weapon within nine seconds of coming on the property.
DeValkenaere claimed probable cause to enter Lamb’s property due to the police helicopter sighting. He said he shot after seeing Lamb point a weapon at his partner. However, DeValkenaere’s partner testified that he didn’t see a firearm.
DeValkenaere was freed while awaiting sentencing and will remain free after his recent sentencing because Judge Youngs granted him bond while he appeals. According to his lawyers, 200-plus letters of support for DeValkenaere were submitted in court as his legal representation urged Judge Youngs to give the lightest sentence possible.
Why You Need to Know:
Supporters of this officer tried every trick in the book to make sure he walked away from murdering a Black man and it didn’t work. Though he should be jailed for life, this sentencing will help serve as an example of what happens to officers who commit murder.