KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A white Kansas City, Missouri, detective on trial for killing a Black man two years ago testified Wednesday that he believed his actions saved the life of his partner.
Eric DeValkenaere is accused of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the December 2019 death of Cameron Lamb.
Lamb, 26, was parking a pickup truck in his backyard when he was shot. The Kansas City Star reported that DeValkenaere choked back tears as he described the shooting.
DeValkenaere said Lamb had pointed his gun at his partner, Troy Schwalm, after the officers arrived to investigate a red pickup that had earlier chased a purple Ford Mustang.
DeValkenaere said he saw Lamb pull a handgun from his waistband and point it at Schwalm. When asked by defense attorney Molly Hastings if he believed that he saved Schwalm’s life that day, DeValkenaere responded: “Yes.”
During the hourlong testimony, DeValkenaere denied planting evidence and denied directing any other officer to alter evidence or change their report of the shooting.
Earlier in the trial, Lamb’s roommate testified that the gun found near Lamb’s body was normally kept on a staircase. Crime scene technicians also testified they conducted a “cursory” examination of the body at the scene, but did not find two bullets in Lamb’s pocket until after his body was taken later to the medical examiner’s office.
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. 10. 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.
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