KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Friday marks two years since Cameron Lamb was shot and killed by Kansas City Det. Eric DeValkenaere.
Friends and family gathered with social activists and a Kansas City councilwoman to remember the 26-year-old father of three. The gathering took place at at 42nd and College near the garage where DeValkenaere fired the deadly gunshot on Dec. 3, 2019.
The group held a 9-second balloon release. They said it symbolized the seconds it took for DeValkenaere to kill Lamb.
Lamb’s family members said they are focused on justice for their son.
“It’s not over with. We’ve still got a sentencing date coming up. I understand he’s got to do at least 3 years. It doesn’t compare to what we are going through. Ours is forever,” Aqil Bey, Lamb’s stepfather, said.
Social activist groups, including the Police Accountability Task Force, Urban Council, More 2, Urban League, SCLC and the NAACP, also held signs saying “Local Control” and “Smith Must Go.”
“Chief Rick Smith obstructed justice in that case, then he harbored the criminal in that case as he has done with all of his officers who exerted excessive and deadly force on the lives of black people without knowing if they are guilty of a crime scene,” Gwen Grant, Urban League CEO, said.
Councilwoman Melissa Robinson said she can longer negotiate with Smith on the upcoming budget and doesn’t feel he’s fit to head the police department.
A Jackson County judge found DeValkenaere guilty last month on charges of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in Lamb’s death.
In 2019, DeValkenaere and his partner were called to Lamb’s neighborhood for a traffic incident. A police helicopter saw a red pickup, believed to have been involved in the incident, turn into Lamb’s garage. The two officers followed Lamb onto his property.
During his trial, DeValkenaere admitted to shooting Lamb, but said it was to protect his partner after Lamb pulled a gun and pointed it at the other officer. DeValkenaere’s partner testified that he didn’t see a weapon in Lamb’s hand.
DeValkenaere is scheduled to be sentenced March 4, 2022. He could face up to four years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter charge and at least three years for the armed criminal action charge.
DeValkenaere’s defense attorney Molly Hastings said they “absolutely plan to appeal” the conviction.
As for Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith, he has said he plans to retire from the department in 2022. While he has not announced a specific retirement date, it is expected he will retire after police funding is secured, right around the same time DeValkenaere is set to be sentenced.