KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A choose on Friday convicted a white Kansas Metropolis police officer of involuntary manslaughter and armed prison motion within the deadly taking pictures of a Black man, in a case wherein prosecutors stated police planted proof.
Jackson County Choose Dale Youngs issued the bench ruling towards Officer Eric DeValkenaere within the dying of Cameron Lamb, 26. Lamb was shot whereas backing into his storage on Dec. 3, 2019, after chasing his girlfriend’s convertible in a stolen pickup truck.
DeValkenaere testified throughout the trial that he fired after Lamb pointed a gun at one other detective, Troy Schwalm, and that he believed his actions saved the lifetime of his accomplice. On the stand, DeValkenaere stated: “I’m pondering, ‘I can’t let this occur, I can’t let him shoot Troy.’”
Prosecutors, nonetheless, argued that police lacked a warrant to be on the property and staged the taking pictures scene to help their claims that Lamb was armed. Earlier than he was shot, prosecutors stated, Lamb had his left hand on the truck’s steering wheel and his cellphone in his proper hand.
One other officer who was the primary to reach on the scene after the taking pictures testified throughout the trial that he didn’t see a gun on the bottom under Lamb’s left arm, which was hanging out of the window of the truck. Later, although, a gun was there in police images.
Two bullets had been present in Lamb’s pockets on the morgue, however crime scene technicians didn’t discover them on the scene. And prosecutors additionally raised questions on whether or not Lamb, who was right-handed, might have used his left hand to drag a gun as a consequence of an earlier harm. The protection argued that he might have.
The decision got here after a bench trial, which was held earlier than the choose and not using a jury at DeValkenaere’s request.
The killing of Lamb, a father of three, was typically invoked throughout racial injustice protests in Kansas Metropolis final yr. And it was amongst a number of instances cited by a bunch of civil rights organizations in a petition urging U.S. Lawyer Normal Merrick Garland to analyze the Kansas Metropolis Police Division. The indictment within the case got here days after Lamb’s dying garnered renewed consideration stemming from his household’s assembly with then-President Donald Trump in 2020.
Up to now yr, prosecutors have introduced prison prices towards 5 white Kansas Metropolis cops for allegedly utilizing extreme drive towards Black individuals. DeValkenaere was the one officer charged in an on-duty killing.