Ex-officer remains free while appealing manslaughter conviction in death of Cameron Lamb

Judge J. Dale Youngs ruled that Eric DeValkenaere can stay out of prison during the appeal of his conviction in the death of Lamb

A former Kansas City detective convicted of fatally shooting a Black man will remain free on bond while his conviction is appealed, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Jackson County Circuit Court Presiding Judge J. Dale Youngs ruled that Eric DeValkenaere, who is white, can stay out of prison during the appeal of his conviction for second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the death of 26-year-old Cameron Lamb.

DeValkenaere’s attorney, Molly Hastings argued at an earlier hearing that he should be allowed to remain out of prison during his appeals because he is not a flight risk and the judge found “no evidence of malice” in DeValkenaere’s conduct.

Eric DeValkenaere, a Kansas City, Mo., police detective, who shot and killed Cameron Lamb after a chase, testifies on Nov. 10, 2021, at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City, Mo. (Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

Youngs, who convicted the former detective in a bench trial in November, said in a hearing in January that he had never in 13 years on the bench allowed a defendant to remain free on bond after they were convicted.

But in his ruling Tuesday, Youngs said “the defendant’s incarceration without bond or other conditions that I might impose on him is not necessary to ensure his appearance at future proceedings,” KSHB-TV reported.

DeValkenaere has remained free on $30,000 bond since he was convicted.

DeValkenaere is schedule to be sentenced March 4. Youngs’ ruling means the former detective will not be jailed immediately but would serve whatever sentence the judge imposes if his appeal fails. He faces up to four years in prison on the manslaughter charge and at least three years for armed criminal action.

Lamb was shot while backing a pickup truck into his garage on Dec. 3, 2019, after chasing his girlfriend’s convertible in a stolen pickup truck.

Laurie Bey, right, whose son Cameron Lamb was shot and killed by Kansas City police in 2019, makes final preparations to participate in the March on Washington in Washington DC on Aug. 28, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool via AP File)

DeValkenaere testified at his trial in November that he fired after he saw Lamb point a gun at his partner, Troy Schwalm.

Prosecutors argued police did not have a legal reason to be on the property and had staged the shooting scene to support their claims that Lamb was armed.

When he convicted DeValkenaere, Youngs said the officers violated Lamb’s constitutional rights because they had no probable cause to believe he had committed a crime, had no warrant for Lamb’s arrest and had no search warrant or consent to be on the property. He did not address the allegations that evidence had been planted.

DeVlakenaere was suspended from the police force after his conviction and left the force in January. Police have not said if he was fired, resigned or retired.

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