A judge found a white Kansas City Police officer guilty with the 2019 killing of a Black man on his own property.
Officer Eric DeValkenaere was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action, in the fatal shooting of Cameron Lamb, who was 26-years-old at the time.
Justice is served. Unlike another verdict that recently came down on Friday, too.
Police officers in Missouri have gotten in trouble before. Earlier his year, the FBI probed officers after a video of a police dog biting a black man was released. Even last year, a woman sued white police officers in Missouri who she accused of brutalizing her and her son and falsely accusing them of theft.
From the Associated Press:
DeValkenaere testified during the trial before Jackson County Judge Dale Youngs that he fired after Lamb pointed a gun at another detective, Troy Schwalm, and that he believed his actions saved the life of his partner. On the stand, DeValkenaere said: “I’m thinking, ‘I can’t let this happen, I can’t let him shoot Troy.’”
Prosecutors, however, argued that police lacked a warrant to be on the property and staged the shooting scene to support their claims that Lamb was armed. Before he was shot, prosecutors said, Lamb had his left hand on the truck’s steering wheel and his cellphone in his right hand.
Another officer who was the first to arrive on the scene after the shooting testified during the trial that he didn’t see a gun on the ground below Lamb’s left arm, which was hanging out of the window of the truck. Later, though, a gun was there in police photographs.
Two bullets were found in Lamb’s pockets at the morgue, but crime scene technicians didn’t find them at the scene. And prosecutors also raised questions about whether Lamb, who was right-handed, could have used his left hand to pull a gun due to an earlier injury. The defense argued that he could.
Surprisingly, this was the first time since 1942 that a white officer from Kansas was convicted of killing a Black man in Kansas city per the report from the Associated Press. That was 79 years ago. Wow.
Lamb was a father of three and his killing was often cited during protests in Kansas City last year during the George Floyd protests.
In 2020, Lamb’s family gained attention for meeting with former President Donald Trump to discuss racial inequality and police reform. Although Trump was probably not the best to discuss it with.
Thankfully, justice was served to Lamb’s family.