Former Kansas City police officer sentenced for manslaughter

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer
Former Kansas City police officer sentenced for manslaughter
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A former Kansas City police officer was sentenced to six years in prison Friday for the December 2019 shooting death of Cameron Lamb.

Eric DeValkenaere, a former Kansas City, Missouri police detective, was convicted of two felonies for shooting and killing Cameron Lamb on Lamb’s property.

DeValkenaere was sentenced to three years for a second-degree involuntary manslaughter charge and six years for the armed criminal action conviction. Both sentences will run concurrently, meaning he will only serve six years.

Jackson County Circuit Court Presiding Judge J. Dale Youngs, who presided over DeValkenaere’s bench trial in November and found him guilty, handed down the sentence Friday.

The second-degree involuntary manslaughter charge carried a maximum sentence of four years, while the armed criminal action carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years with a maximum of 15 years.

December 2019 Shooting Death

The fatal shooting happened on December 3, 2019, when former Kansas City police officer DeValkenaere and his partner responded to a traffic incident involving a red pickup truck.

A police helicopter observed a red pickup truck driving and entering a driveway at the back of a residential home. DeValkenaere and his partner, dressed in plain clothes and wearing police department vests according to the indictment, arrived at the home and entered the backyard without obtaining a legal warrant and with their guns drawn.

Lamb was “slowly backing” the truck down a ramp into the basement garage. The officers attempted to tell Lamb to stop, but it’s unclear whether he heard them.

DeValkenaere fired his gun four times, hitting Lamb twice, claiming he saw Lamb’s left hand reach for a gun and point it at his partner.

“I remember thinking, ‘No, this can’t happen. I can’t let this happen’,” DeValkenaere testified while on the witness stand during the trial.

According to his partner, who was on Lamb’s side of the truck and could see him, Lamb had his left hand on the steering wheel with his fingers spread apart.

Medical records later showed that Lamb did not have full use of his left hand due to an injury before the shooting.

Former Kansas City police officer out on Bond

The main focus of the state’s case against DeValkenaere was whether he and his partner had the legal right to be on Lamb’s property.

Judge Youngs ultimately ruled that without a warrant, without the presumption a warrant would have been granted, and without permission to enter the property, former Kansas City police officer DeValkenaere had violated Lamb’s civil rights, making the conduct reckless.

In an unprecedented decision, Youngs ruled that DeValkenaere will remain free on bond, as he has throughout the legal process so far, during the appeal process.

Youngs said he did not believe incarceration was necessary during the appeals process.

“He’s known that since November and yet here he is,” Youngs said. “If he was a flight risk, I don’t know that I would have waited if I were Mr. DeValkenaere to fly to Panama. I think I probably would have done it … after I rendered my verdict in the case,” Youngs said.

Local media reports that this was the first time the judge had granted such an appeal bond in his 13 years on the bench.

The Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office asked for Youngs to impose a nine-year sentence.

Lamb’s family has filed a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against former Kansas City police officer DeValkenaere and the KCPD Board of Police Commissioners on behalf of Lamb’s three children.

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