The family of Cameron Lamb on Thursday donated the legal documents of their son’s case to the Black Archives of Mid-America.
The court documents, along with a photo of Cameron Lamb, will be on display on the first floor of the Black Archives as part of the exhibit of Black life in Kansas City. The documents will also be scanned and held in the museum’s digital archives.
At a ceremony Thursday, Aquil Bey, the father of Cameron Lamb, said he was overjoyed to see the documents saved for people years from now to see.
“They tried to downgrade him and drag his name through the mud,” says Bey. “He was a good guy, and I hope this tells the real story about Cameron.”
Lamb was shot and killed Dec. 3, 2019, by plain-clothed KCPD detective Eric DeValkenaere, following a reported disturbance allegedly involving Lamb’s truck chasing a purple Ford Mustang. Officers DeValkenaere and Troy Schwalm followed Lamb’s vehicle to his residence, knocked over a grill and car hood to get to the backyard, where Lamb was backing into his garage.
DeValkenaere said he saw Lamb pull out a gun and point it at Schwalm. But at the trial, Schwalm said he did not see a weapon in Lamb’s hands. DeValkenaere testified, saying there was no time to de-escalate the situation and that he needed to back up his partner.
Police say Lamb had his left arm and head hanging out of the driver’s side window, and on the ground near his left hand was a handgun.
Prosecutors during the trial argued the crime scene was tampered with and evidence planted. The prosecution also argued that DeValkenaere violated the Fourth Amendment when the officers entered the property without a warrant, making any actions the officers took unconstitutional and criminal.
Judges in both the initial case and DeValkenaere’s appeal agreed with the prosecutors’ argument and said the officers did not have probable cause to enter Lamb’s property, did not have a search warrant or evidence to obtain a search warrant, and that Lamb had an expectation of privacy while in his backyard.
DeValkenaere was sentenced to six years in prison but remained free on bond until this week after losing his conviction appeal. The case was also unusual because Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey declined to defend the conviction at the appeal but instead argued for DeValkenaere.
Kansas City Law Enforcement Accountability Project co-founder Steve Young said seeing the documents go into the archives was a bright spot but there was still a cloud over the day, considering Governor Parsons may pardon or commute DeValkenaere’s sentence.
“This is unprecedented, and this is a case that people around the country can refer to and study for years to come,”– Steve Young
For more information, visit blackarchives.org.