KANSAS CITY, MO – A monumental morning unfolded at the steps of the Missouri Court of Appeals today as community advocates and protestors turned out in full force to support Cameron Lamb, the Black man slain by former KCPD Detective Eric DeValkenaere. The court is revisiting the landmark conviction—the first of its kind in KCPD’s 148-year history where a white officer was convicted for killing a Black citizen.
In 2019, DeValkenaere fatally shot Lamb while he was merely backing a truck into his own garage. The defense, laden with contradictions and loopholes, claimed the detective and his partner were “just doing their jobs,” following up on an alleged car chase involving Lamb. The initial trial judge, however, saw through these claims. The ruling highlighted the absence of a warrant, lack of probable cause, and no permission for DeValkenaere to trespass on Lamb’s private property.
DeValkenaere was convicted of second-degree murder and armed criminal action back in November 2021 and was sentenced to six years in prison. Yet, he has yet to serve even one day in jail, a slap in the face to those yearning for justice, pending the outcome of this appeal.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey and Governor Mike Parson are unsettlingly seeking to reverse the conviction or call for a new trial, despite outcry from Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. She described the actions of the state’s highest law enforcement officer as “extremely distressing, unfortunate, and disappointing.”
Community groups, including the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, KC Law Enforcement Accountability Project (KCLEAP), Decarcerate KC, and It’s Time 4 Justice, hosted a press conference and rally to support the Lamb family and press for systemic change against the deep-rooted white supremacy of the department and broader government officials.
“This horrific tragedy – the murder, the planting of evidence, the entire police department that continues to conspire in the coverup, all of this while disparaging Cameron and his family. Putting them through this torturous trial to finally receive even a semblance of justice, makes unmistakably clear that the KCPD never has an never will have the safety and interest of Black, brown and poor people at heart,” a leader from Decarcerate KC told The Defender.
Gwen Grant, CEO of the Urban League, said, “It is our hope today that the Missouri Court of Appeals will affirm the guilty verdict and that DeValkenaere will finally pay for his crimes.”
The message today was unequivocal: the struggle to hold police accountable is relentless, especially if the appeals court sides with the Governor and Attorney General.
The court’s decision will either uphold or demolish this singular conviction, making it either a historic milestone or yet another travesty in America’s long saga of vicious racial injustice. Whatever the outcome, the people are watching, and they are unyielding in their pursuit of justice for Cameron Lamb.