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'Oversight': Missouri AG’s office submits missing KCPD officer’s interview in Eric DeValkenaere’s appeal

Former KCPD detective who killed Cameron Lamb seeks to have conviction overturned
DeValkenaere police shooting
Posted at 1:50 PM, Sep 19, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said it was an “oversight” not to include a key piece of video evidence in its unusual response to former Kansas City, Missouri, Police Det. Eric DeValkenaere’s appeal after his conviction on two felony charges for the deadly shooting of Cameron Lamb.

RELATED | Court hears arguments in convicted former KCPD detective's appeal

DeValkenaere, who has since left the department, shot and killed Lamb on Dec. 3, 2019, behind Lamb’s residence in the 4100 block of College Avenue.

DeValkenaere claimed he saw Lamb raise a gun with his left hand and point it at the other KCPD detective who was present at the time, Sgt. Troy Schwalm.

However, during an interview with investigators on the day of the shooting, Schwalm said he could clearly see Lamb’s left hand, never saw a gun and, in fact, saw Lamb flex his fingers up off the steering wheel before the shooting. A three-judge panel with the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District heard arguments Sept. 5 in DeValkenaere’s appeal and questioned why Bailey’s office failed to include that video snippet from the trial among the exhibits accompanying the June 2023 filing.

“I had agreed to assemble the State’s exhibits for the record, and my oversight regarding that clip was inadvertent,” Bailey wrote in a Sept. 7 letter to the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District.

Deputy Attorney General Shaun Mackelprang, who argued for the state at the appellate hearing, also signed the letter to the court.

In the letter, Bailey said the exhibit “was neither offered nor admitted into evidence at trial” but that he later determined a 25-second clip from Schwalm’s interview was played during DeValkenaere’s trial.

The appeals court ruled that Bailey’s office was allowed to submit the previously omitted clip, which it accepted Monday.

The court has yet to set a date for the next hearing in the case.

At DeValkenaere’s criminal trial, Schwalm testified that he saw “his (Lamb’s) left hand waving at me and he was looking at me” and that he remembered seeing Lamb’s left hand on the steering wheel, where he “flayed out his fingers and showed me his fingers at one point.”

Schwalm later said he wasn’t sure of the exact timing of when he saw Lamb’s hand during the brief encounter before DeValkenaere opened fire.

DeValkenare was convicted in November 2021 of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action after a four-day bench trial.

He appealed after Jackson County Circuit Court Presiding Judge J. Dale Youngs, who presided over the case, sentenced him to six years in prison in March 2022.

DeValkenaere’s appellate attorney, Jonathan Laurans, formally filed the appeal in late October 2022 before the Missouri Attorney General’s Office slow-walked its response and, ultimately, filed a brief in which Bailey’s office sided with DeValkenaere, the criminal defendant, rather than defend the conviction.

The Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed an amicus brief, allowing attorneys with Jean Peters Baker’s office to intervene and defend the conviction before the appeals panel.

The case against DeValkenaere, which stems from a June 2020 grand jury indictment, has been unusual from the beginning.

DeValkenaere, who started with the department in 1999, is believed to be the first KCPD officer ever convicted for killing a Black man.

The case hinged on the Fourth Amendment and whether DeValkenaere and Schwalm had trampled Lamb’s constitutional rights by entering his property without a warrant, permission or probable cause.

Youngs decided the officers had acted in bad faith and were the initial aggressors by entering the property without cause in handing down the conviction, but he also has allowed DeValkenaere to remain free on bond during his lengthy appeal, another unusual aspect of the case along with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office’s decision.

So far, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has resisted calls to pardon DeValkenaere.