KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The trial for Eric DeValkenaere, the Kansas City, Missouri, police detective accused of criminal conduct in the deadly shooting of Cameron Lamb in December 2019, has been pushed back two months.
DeValkenaere’s bench trial, which will be overseen by a judge rather than a jury, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 8 in Presiding Judge J. Dale Youngs’ courtroom in the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County.
It had been scheduled to begin Sept. 7, but a motion for a continuance was granted Wednesday.
A grand jury indicted DeValkenaere with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action, and the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed charges on June 18, 2020.
DeValkenaere pleaded not guilty five days later. He shot and killed Lamb on Dec. 3, 2019, at a residence in the 4100 block of College Avenue after DeValkenaere said he saw Lamb point a gun at another officer as he backed a pickup truck in the home's garage.
KCPD officers working an unrelated crash near East 35th Street and College Avenue saw a red pickup truck chasing a purple Ford Mustang around 12:20 p.m. and initiated pursuit, but quickly lost sight of the vehicles.
A police helicopter followed the truck, driven by Lamb, to a private residence and alerted officers on the ground, including DeValkenaere and fellow KCPD Det. Troy Schwalm, that it was behind the house where the shooting occurred.
Prosecutors contend that, because police on the ground had lost contact with Lamb’s truck and because he had stopped chasing the Mustang, there was no immediate danger to the public. Thus, the hot-pursuit doctrine doesn’t permit a warrantless search of the property.
Nonetheless, DeValkenaere and Schwalm — who were in plainclothes and exited their vehicles with guns already drawn, according to witness testimony — entered the property without a warrant, failing to seek permission to enter the property from a resident sitting on the porch.
After entering the property illegally, that makes any actions the officers took unconstitutional and potentially criminal in nature, according to prosecutors.
Schwalm and DeValkenaere gave conflicting accounts of Lamb’s actions as he backed the truck into the garage.
Schwalm said Lamb’s left hand was on the steering wheel and he couldn’t see his right hand after making eye contact.
DeValkenaere said Lamb’s right hand was on the steering wheel and that he pulled a gun from his waist area and pointed it at Schwalm, prompting DeValkenaere to fire four shots — two of which struck and killed Lamb.
According to interviews and medical records, Lamb had limited use of his left hand after a 2015 injury and made a phone call, which captured some audio from the scene around the time of the shooting.
Crime scene investigators said Lamb’s body was found with his left hand hanging out the window of the truck with a gun on the ground under his hand.
DeValkenaere’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on March 3, 2021. It was denied on April 28.
He remains employed by KCPD and is on administrative assignment to the Executive Services Bureau, the police department told KSHB 41 on Thursday.
Lamb’s family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against DeValkenaere and the KCPD Board of Police Commissioners in June 2021.
The lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages for Lamb’s children.
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