Outrageous: Detective convicted in fatal shooting of man who pointed a gun at his partner

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KANSAS CITY, MO – A Jackson County judge found Kansas City police detective Eric DeValkenaere guilty of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Cameron Lamb, a black man who reportedly pointed a gun at his partner.

Jackson County Judge Dale Youngs issued the bench ruling against Det. DeValkenaere on Friday. Lamb was shot while backing into his garage on Dec. 3, 2019, after chasing his girlfriend’s convertible in a stolen pickup truck.

The shooting occurred not long after a police helicopter spotted a red truck chasing a purple Mustang at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour through a residential neighborhood.

Prosecutors argued that the detective acted recklessly when he shot the man, claiming he entered Lamb’s property without a warrant and fired his weapon within seconds of contact the suspect’s vehicle.

Defense attorneys said that the 20-year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department was responding to an ongoing, dangerous incident and had exigent circumstances to enter the property.

During the trial, Det. DeValkenaere testified that he shot the suspect after Lamb pointed a gun at another detective, Troy Schwalm, and that he believed his actions saved his partner’s life:

“I’m thinking, ‘I can’t let this happen, I can’t let him shoot Troy.’”

DeValkenaere testified that moments before the shooting, he saw Lamb reach with his left hand for a handgun from his waistband and point toward his partner:

“My focus moves from that weapon to the center of his chest. I bring my weapon and drive it towards him. And as I acquire the front sight, I discharge a round to his center mass.”

Prosecutors countered his testimony stating the suspect had one hand on the steering wheel and one hand holding a cell phone at the time of the shooting. A back-up officer stated he did not see the suspect holding a gun at the time.

The same officer testified that he did not see a gun on the ground beneath where the suspect’s left arm was hanging out the vehicle’s window.

However, police photographs from the scene did show the gun on the ground below the suspect’s arm.

Prosecutors claimed the scene was staged by police to cover up a bad shooting. Prosecutors also pointed out the suspect was known to be right-handed, and state the suspect had a previous injury which they said made it unlikely he used his left hand.

Despite the questions raised by the prosecution, questions remain as bullets were found in the suspect’s pockets. The defense also argued that the suspect could have used his left hand to pull a gun despite the injury.

Det. DeValkenaere waived a jury trial and opted for the judge to rule in the case. The four-day trial ended last week.

Delivering his verdict from the bench in a courtroom packed with supporters and family of both Det. DeValkenaere and Lamb, Youngs said that the two plainclothes policemen had no arrest warrant, no search warrant and no probable cause to obtain either.

The judge ruled there was no exigent circumstances to preclude a warrant and that the officers were not in hot pursuit, another exception to the search warrant requirement:

“Based on the court’s review of the law and the facts, the court concludes that the backyard and particularly the carport were within the curtilage. And the occupants demonstrated a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

DeValkenaere faces a minimum statutory sentence of three years on the involuntary manslaughter conviction and a minimum statutory sentence of three years on the armed criminal action conviction.

The Kansas City Police Department issued a statement following the verdict stating the detective had been suspended without pay until a termination procedure could be conducted.

After the verdict, S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the Lamb family, called it “momentous” and “historic”:

“These instances of justice in our system are far too rare, but there was something that happened here that was different.”

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker called the verdict “just”:

“What we sought in this case was a just outcome and I believe that’s where we stand today.”

Det. DeValkenaere’s family declined to comment, as did his defense attorney Molly Hastings.

Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, which provided financial support for Det. DeValkenaere’s legal defense, said the organization was shocked:

“Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker’s politically motivated prosecution sets a dangerous precedent. Police officers are not above the law, but they are entitled to be held to the same standard as all citizens, not one based on political expediency.”

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

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‘Unarmed suspect’? Body cam footage shows criminal firing first in Kansas City police shooting

June 24, 2021

 

KANSAS CITY, KS – Police officials say that the body cam footage from an officer-involved shooting involving a now-deceased carjacking suspect on June 20th reportedly shows the suspect firing at officers first

According to officials, the June 20th pursuit that led up to the officer-involved shooting in Kansas City, Kansas had originally started in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The June 20th pursuit and officer-involved shooting stems back to an armed carjacking that occurred on June 17th in the area of 18th and Garfield in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Kansas City, Kansas Police responded to the reported armed carjacking where the victim told officers that he was giving the suspect, identified only as a 25-year-old Hispanic male, a ride when the suspect suddenly pulled a gun on him. 

The suspect demanded the victim’s car, described as a “dark colored Ford Expedition with gold trim” and fled the scene. 

Then, at approximately 11:30 a.m. on June 20th, Kansas City, Missouri Police reportedly spotted the vehicle in the area of Independence Avenue and Benton Boulevard and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. 

Officials say the suspect didn’t stop for police, and a pursuit was put into motion. 

The pursuit crossed state lines and Kansas City, Kansas Police joined in on the pursuit at approximately 11:42 a.m., with the pursuit lasting only five minutes longer thereafter before the suspect crashed behind a convenience store at 18th and Parallel. 

Police say a review of body cam footage shows the suspect exiting the vehicle while armed and running toward 18th street. Officers pursued the suspect on foot, which officials say the suspect turned around and fired at pursuing officers. 

Luckily, no officers were shot while coming under fire from the suspect.

Officers reportedly returned fire, striking the suspect. 

Aid was immediately administered on-scene, and the unnamed suspect was reportedly transported to an area hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased. 

Tarence Maddox, president of the local NAACP in Kansas City, Kansas, issued some comments of criticism regarding how the events unfolded that led to the shooting:

“Now, a carjacking is important – we don’t want criminals just being able to do anything and run free. But a carjacking, where someone just stole a car, shouldn’t lead to high-speed pursuits in broad daylight, on holidays, and then someone’s running on foot and they’re eventually dead.”

Officials say the investigation into the incident is still ongoing, with the KCKPD, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department and the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office reviewing evidence. 

This is an ongoing investigation. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further details on this developing case.  

 

 

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