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Cameron Lamb’s mother, stepfather react to Missouri Supreme Court decision

High court declined to hear ex-KCPD officer Eric DeValkenaere’s appeal for killing Lamb
Cameron Lamb
Cameron Lamb necklace.jpg
Eric DeValkenaere.jpg
KCPD Detective Eric DeValkenaere
Posted at 12:52 PM, Mar 06, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Laurie Bey received the news Tuesday in a text message that the Missouri Supreme Court had denied former Kansas City, Missouri, police officer Eric DeValkenaere’s application for transfer of his double-felony conviction for killing Cameron Lamb, her son.

DeValkenaere’s second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action convictions, which the Missouri Attorney General’s Office unsuccessfully helped try to overturn on appeal, would stand.

“My reaction was just cheer,” Bey said. “I was loud and I had to just kind of say, ‘Oh, bring it down a bit,’ because I'm at work, people are in the hallway. But I was not expecting that and I was so excited. That text caught me completely off guard. It really did.”

Tears quickly followed as a major chapter in the more-than-four-year journey to justice for Lamb closed.

DETAILED TIMELINE | Shooting of Lamb, conviction of DeValkenaere

“It was confirmation of DeValkenaere being totally wrong, in violation of that man's rights and taking an innocent life,” Aqil Bey, Lamb’s stepfather, said. “But I wasn't worried about the decision. … Every judge you put that man in front of said he was guilty.”

The state high court’s ruling was further confirmation of one other thing for the Beys: “His life did matter. We're so grateful to the prosecutors, and the dream team, and to all of the support that we've had here, and people that know him. I just know from that day my son should still be here, so his life did matter.”

Cameron Lamb and his family
Cameron Lamb and his family

DeValkenaere shot and killed Lamb on Dec. 3, 2019, behind his residence in the 4100 block of College Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.

Lamb had broken up with his girlfriend and chased her briefly through the streets at high speed earlier that morning — an incident undercover officers, including members of DeValkenaere’s Violent Offender Squad, had witnessed.

Cooler heads had prevailed and Lamb returned home.

As he was parking his truck in a subterranean garage, DeValkenaere, accompanied by another member of his unit, was guided by a KCPD helicopter to Lamb’s house, kicked his way past a makeshift fence to reach the backyard, then shot Lamb to death after believing he saw a weapon.

DeValkenaere was convicted nearly two years later of two felonies in connection to Lamb’s death after a Jackson County judge ruled during a bench trial that the officers violated the Constitution by illegally entering the property without a warrant, permission or probable cause.

He was sentenced to six years in prison in March 2022, but didn’t begin serving that sentence until Oct. 17, 2023, after a three-judge panel affirmed the conviction in October 2023.

“It was a long and, at times, stressful journey, but we just let the laws of this land take over,” Laurie Bey said. “... At times, it was very stressful, because we heard a lot of negative things from the police. Then, we heard at the time, (former KCPD Chief of Police Rick) Smith, make that remark about my son. You had Brad Lemon that made comments. We heard a lot of negative things from the wife. So, it's just like everyone that had anything to say, they were negative. No one ever said anything good about my son outside of his family and people that loved him.”

Aqil Bey said the way KCPD treated Lamb and ensuing court cases around his death “put out in the open about the culture of the police department,” but he believes justice ultimately was served — and, for that, he’s grateful.

“The man was charged; a lot of times they don't get charged,” Aqil Bey said. “He was convicted; a lot of them don't get convicted. He was sentenced. This man done went to the penitentiary and he’s serving time. That says a lot to the citizens of Kansas City. They could see, ‘Hey, you’ve got a police officer now that has been convicted and is serving time.’ So, maybe that can give the community some kind of hope, as far as somewhat evening the playing field out a little bit.”

Lamb’s name was among those invoked by protesters in Kansas City in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police in late spring 2020.

“I miss his laugh,” Laurie Bey said. “I miss — it's hard as a mother, you miss everything about your child, but he had this infectious personality. Everyone always wanted to be around him. He was like that glue, and maybe I'm partial because he was my only son. Of course, he was my baby. But he was just that one that he just kind of held us together.”

Lamb left behind three children.

“You could see the growth and maturity and the responsibility he started taking, so he had grown into a most respectable, caring young man,” Aqil Bey said. “You didn't have to know him, could be stuck on the road somewhere and he was going to stop and try to give you a hand. And the time he was spending with his children — if you’ve seen some of the videos, and the fun that they used to have — he was developing and it's a shame that the children have to go without their father.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has been asked by DeValkenaere’s family and others to grant the convicted former KCPD detective clemency, but Laurie Bey hopes she would consider what Lamb’s family loss before making such a decision.

“I would like for Governor Parson to know what type of person what type of father (Cameron was),” Laurie Bey said. “He was a father, he was a son, he was a brother, he was everything to everyone that knew him. So, I would like for him to know not just go off of what he's heard, but be able to sit down with him and share pictures of his interactions with his kids, for him to be able to look at all of the videos, because he made lots of live videos almost as if he knew that his time was near the end, because he has so many videos that he shared with him and his sons.”

Laurie Bey and the mothers of Lamb's children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against DeValkenaere and the KCPD Board of Police Commissioners in federal court.

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