KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge will determine the fate of a white Kansas City police detective charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2019 shooting death of a Black man.
Closing arguments were held Friday in the trial of Eric DeValkenaere, who is accused of killing Cameron Lamb in December 2019. Lamb, 26, was backing his pickup truck into his garage in the backyard of his home when he was shot.
DeValkenaere and another detective said during the trial that they ran into Lamb's backyard after seeing him speeding and chasing another vehicle. The defense team argued DeValkenaere fired because he believed Lamb was pointing a gun at his partner, Troy Schwalm.
Prosecutors said the officers didn't have a search warrant and had no reason to be in Lamb's backyard. Prosecutor Dion Sankar said clearing the detective of the charges would “shred the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, KCTV reported.
Defense attorney Dawn Parsons said DeValkenaere was doing his job, and maintained that a vehicle going 60 to 90 mph and running red lights was as dangerous as a bullet.
“This case is about (the) everyday reality of policing in this city,” Parsons said.
Prosecutors have suggested during the trial this week that police might have planted a gun that was found on the ground under Lamb's hand after he was shot. They said Lamb had previously injured that hand and could not have shot a gun with it.
The defense team presented photos from social media that show Lamb using his left hand and driving with a gun in his lap.
There is no body camera evidence in this trial. The shooting took place before police began widely using body cameras in April 2021.
Presiding Jackson County Judge J. Dale Youngs took the case under advisement and indicated he likely would make a decision next week.
The case is a rare example of a white officer from the city being criminally accused of killing a Black man. In 1942, two officers were acquitted in a killing, The Kanas City Star reported.
This story was first published on Nov. 12. It was updated on Nov. 19 to correct that DeValkenaere was not the first white officer in the city to be charged in the death of a Black person. Such a case happened in 1942.