DeValkenaere Mug Shot
Former KCPD Detective Eric DeValkenaere’s intake photo from the Platte County Jail.

Key Points

  • Former KCPD detective DeValkenaere convicted of killing Cameron Lamb in 2021 begins serving sentence
  • DeValkenaere’s family asks MO Governor for pardon
  • Many oppose a pardon, including prosecutors, the family of Cameron Lamb and social justice organizations.

Former KCPD Det. Eric DeValkenaere spent less than a week behind bars before asking for a pardon from Missouri Governor Mike Parson. 

DeValkenaere was convicted of killing Cameron Lamb in 2021 and sentenced to six years in prison for second-degree manslaughter and armed criminal action. DeValkenaere—the first officer convicted of killing a Black man in KC—remained free on bond for roughly three years through his trial and appeal. 

A panel of three judges in the Missouri Western Court of Appeals upheld DeValkenaere’s conviction in recent weeks, despite Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey arguing against the former officer’s conviction. The appeals court also revoked DeValkenaere’s bond, and he surrendered to the Platte County jail, serving his first days behind bars since Lamb’s death in late 2019. 

“The wheels of justice are turning the proper way,” said father of Cameron Lamb, Aquil Bey, after the former officer’s conviction was upheld. 

DeValkenaere has since been transferred to a Missouri correctional facility in St. Joseph and has said he will appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. His legal team asked to reinstate his bond while awaiting his further appeal. 

Reinstatement of his bond would mean DeValkenaere would be free again,possibly for years, while waiting for the courts to hear his further appeals. The same panel of three Parson-appointed judges denied DeValkenaere’s bond and the former officer began serving his six-year sentence. 

DeValkenaere’s Family Asks for Pardon

The wife of former KCPD Det. DeValkenaere defended her husband on social media and called on people to phone the Governor’s office demanding a pardon. 

“Eric is an honest man who has integrity and he does not deserve what is happening to him. He is an amazing husband, father, friend, co-worker and neighbor.  We all need him HOME. I need YOUR help! I need Missouri residents to call …and urge the Governor to grant him a pardon,” wrote Sarah DeValkenaere on Facebook. 

The governor’s office affirmed that they had received an informal request from the DeValkenaere family for Gov. Parson to grant a pardon and that they had received several hundred phone calls. 

 Gov. Parson is a former sheriff and while he is not running for reelection, he has received significant campaign contributions from police unions. The governor’s office has issued a statement saying they’re weighing a decision but offered no timeline. 

Many Oppose a Pardon

The family of Cameron Lamb, prosecutors, and a host of social justice organizations have asked the governor not to pardon or commute DeValkenaere’s prison sentence. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, whose office helped uphold the conviction, said they feel the justice system has spoken. 

“We strongly oppose [a pardon]. The rule of law has spoken clearly on this matter through a Jackson County Grand Jury, three separate Circuit Court judges, three separate appeals court judges and the presiding judge of the Western District Court of Appeals, who signed the arrest warrant last week,” read the statement for Peters Baker. 

A coalition of groups including Urban League of Greater Kansas City, NAACP MO, MORE2, KC Law Enforcement Accountability Project, Decarcerate KC, Action St. Louis, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Urban Summit, Metropolitan Congregations United, and SCLC of Greater Kansas City sent a letter to Gov. Parson this week. 

“We urgently request that you refrain from pardoning former KCPD Detective Eric DeValkenaere for the death of Cameron Lamb,” the coalition wrote. “Granting such a pardon would critically damage the already diminishing trust between our community and the justice system, endangering the well-being and safety of Kansas City’s residents and the larger Missouri community.”

Many have voiced concern about the larger message it sends if the governor pardons the only officer ever convicted of killing a Black person in KC.

“A pardon is a death sentence for people who look like me [Black],” says KC LEAP co-founder Steve Young, “Because that’s going to embolden the police department because they’ll know they have a governor who’ll pardon them, and they’ll be able to go into our neighborhoods and do more trauma; it’s extremely scary.” 

The family of Cameron Lamb says that they are happy that DeValkenaere is finally serving his sentence and that if he is pardoned, they will seek a federal investigation. 

“He’s in the penitentiary today,” says Bey. “But if he gets pardoned, we’ll go straight to the FBI because DeValkenaere violated my son’s civil rights.”  

If you’d like to voice your opinion of a potential pardon for DeValkenaere, call the Governor’s office at (573) 751-3222. 

Prior to joining The Community Voice, he worked as a reporter & calendar editor with The Pitch, writing instructor with The Kansas City Public Library, and as a contributing food writer for Kansas...