The Missouri Court of Appeals issued a ruling today upholding the conviction of former KCPD officer Erik DeValkenaere in the 2019 killing of Cameron Lamb.
DeValkenaere, a White man, is the first KCPD officer convicted of shooting a Black person.
In 2021, DeValkenaere was sentenced to six years in prison for second-degree manslaughter and armed criminal action, but he has been free on bond while his case went through appeals. As first reported by KCUR, the appellate judges also revoked his bond and issued an arrest warrant, meaning that DeValkenaere will likely begin serving his six-year sentence.
Appeals Judge Thomas Chapman said in the 42-page opinion that the legal precedent in this criminal appeals case is to accept evidence that tends to prove guilt and disregard evidence to the contrary.
Judge Chapman noted that DeValkenaere raised 8 points of appeal, which Chapman struck down one by one until concluding the opinion with: “DeValkenaere has failed to establish error with respect to his conviction for involuntary manslaughter, his arguments regarding his armed criminal action conviction also fail,” wrote Chapman. “The judgment is affirmed.”
The court’s upholding of DeValkenaere’s conviction comes after a bizarre appeals process that saw Missouri’s Attorney General Andrew Bailey not only refuse to argue against the former KCPD office but to actually argue for DeValkenaere in the appeals court to overturn his conviction.
DeValkenaere will likely appeal again, and there is renewed speculation that Governor Mike Parson, who has a law enforcement background, may pardon DeValkenaere. Demonstrations and protests have taken place to urge Gov. Parson not to pardon the former officer.
“A pardon would send a loud and clear message to KCPD that it’s open season on Black and Brown folks,” said Steve Young, co-founder of the KC Law Enforcement Accountability Project.
Cameron Lamb had just backed into his driveway when DeValkenaere and his partner entered Lamb’s property by breaking down a privacy fence under the suspicion that Lamb had broken several traffic laws.
They were dressed in plain clothes, riding in unmarked cars, and didn’t identify themselves.
DeValkanaere later claimed that Lamb pointed a gun at his partner— a claim his partner refuted in court — but within 10 seconds of entering the property, DeValkenaere had fired four shots, fatally wounding Lamb.
The judge in DeValkenaere’s criminal case found that the officers violated Lamb’s Fourth Amendment rights by not having a warrant or probable cause to be on Lamb’s property and that DeValkenaere’s conduct was reckless in shooting Lamb