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Former Missouri detective sentenced to 6 years for killing man in his driveway

Eric DeValkenaere was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and armed criminal action in the shooting of Cameron Lamb in Kansas City, Mo.
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A former Kansas City, Mo., police detective who fatally shot a man who was in a truck at his own home in 2019 was sentenced Friday to six years in state prison.

Eric DeValkenaere received a three-year sentence for involuntary second-degree manslaughter in the death of Cameron Lamb, 26, and a six-year sentence for armed criminal action. The sentences will run concurrently.

Prosecutors said Lamb was chasing his girlfriend’s convertible in an allegedly stolen pickup on Dec. 3, 2019. Police initially said they tracked the truck to a home, and two officers confronted Lamb who was in the pickup in the driveway.

DeValkenaere, who opened fire, said in court that he feared for the life of his fellow detective because Lamb pointed a gun at him.

Prosecutors said DeValkenaere shouldn't have confronted the suspect on the property of his own residence without a warrant.

They also questioned police evidence by asserting that Lamb had his left hand on the truck's steering wheel and his cellphone in his right hand before the shooting.

An officer who was at the scene after the shooting said in court he didn't see a gun near Lamb's body, even though it was later seen in police photographs. The victim's left hand was hanging out the pickup's driver's side window, the officer testified.

Jackson County Circuit Court Presiding Judge J. Dale Youngs, who handed down the sentence, ultimately determined DeValkenaere violated the Lamb's civil rights by going onto Lamb's property without a warrant or permission.

Demonstrators said the case was an example of yet another police killing involving a white officer and a Black man. A march organized in June 2020 sought justice for George Floyd and Lamb.

The mothers of Lamb’s three young sons filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit in June 2021 against DeValkenaere and the city’s Board of Police Commissioners. The suit alleged a “continuing, widespread, persistent pattern of unconstitutional misconduct of the Kansas City Police Department.”

In an email, Kansas City Officer Donna Drake said the department does not "comment on pending litigation to ensure fairness on all sides."

DeValkenaere was convicted Nov. 19. His last date of employment at the department was Jan. 23, she said. Drake did not disclose the reason for the end of his employment, citing Missouri's "sunshine law."

Days after DeValkenaere was found guilty, Police Chief Rick Smith announced he’d retire in 2022.

An attorney representing DeValkenaere told NBC affiliate KSHB of Kansas City that an appeal will be filed soon. Youngs ruled previously DeValkenaere could remain free on bond as he appealed, according to the station.

Outside the Jackson County Courthouse Friday, Lamb's mother, Laurie Bey, addressed the six-year sentence.

"The bottom line is we got the conviction," she said, but added later: "There’s truly no justice, because my son is gone."