A Kansas City officer was found guilty in the death of a Black man in 2019.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) —
(AP) — In a case in which prosecutors claimed police planted evidence, a judge found a white Kansas City police officer guilty of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the fatal shooting of a Black man on Friday.
Officer Eric DeValkenaere was found guilty on a bench by Jackson County Judge Dale Youngs in the death of Cameron Lamb, 26.
Lamb was shot in the back of the head while backing into his garage in December.
After chasing his girlfriend’s convertible in a stolen pickup truck on March 3, 2019, he was arrested.
DeValkenaere has been suspended without pay pending termination, according to a statement from the police department.
DeValkenaere and the officer with him escalated a situation that had been calmed, according to Youngs, who described it as a tragic case with troubling facts.
DeValkenaere and his family were escorted from the building after the verdict.
An officer stated that no comments would be made.
Lamb’s family was represented by Lee Merritt, a civil rights lawyer in Texas.
“Today is not the day to bring him back.
Justice will be swift, but this is significant.
This is a historic moment.
And it’s significant,” Merritt added.
During the trial, DeValkenaere testified that he fired after Lamb pointed a gun at another officer, Troy Schwalm, and that he believed his actions saved his partner’s life.
“I’m thinking to myself, ‘I can’t let this happen,'” DeValkenaere said in court.
Prosecutors, on the other hand, claimed that police were on the property without a warrant and that they staged the shooting scene to prove that Lamb was armed.
Lamb had his left hand on the steering wheel of the truck and his cellphone in his right hand before he was shot, according to prosecutors.
During the trial, another officer who was the first on the scene after the shooting testified that he didn’t see a gun on the ground below Lamb’s left arm, which was hanging out the truck window.
However, police photographs later revealed a gun.
At the morgue, two bullets were discovered in Lamb’s pockets, but they were not found at the crime scene.
Prosecutors also questioned whether Lamb, who is right-handed, could have pulled with his left hand…
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