Governor and prosecutor accuse each other of political games in possible pardon of KCPD detective Eric DeValkenaere

Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 12:23 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2023 at 12:51 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - There are reported efforts underway to get a pardon for former Kansas City Detective Eric DeValkenaere in the 2019 killing of Cameron Lamb, but Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is urging Missouri Governor Mike Parson to deny the request.

DeValkenaere was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and armed criminal action in November of 2021 and was later sentenced to six years in prison. He has remained free on bond, while his appeal is pending.

ALSO READ: Family members, attorneys react to sentencing of former Kansas City police officer Eric DeValkenaere

“I imagine you might view a pardon as a way to support police,” wrote Baker in the letter. “But I expect this extreme action for the only KCPD officer convicted of fatally shooting a black man will ignite distrust, protests, and public safety concerns for citizens and for police.”

The governor’s office responded, accusing Jean Peters Baker of trying to score political points and says the governor believes in second chances.

“Every appliclation goes through a thorough and thoughtful review before any decision is made,” it said in the statement. “Eric DeValkenaere’s will be treated the exact same if he applies.”

The full statement from the governor’s office is at the end of this article.

Case History

Lamb was shot by DeValkenaere as he was backing a truck into a garage at his home. DeValkanaere’s legal team argued he and his partner were doing their jobs, following up on reports Lamb’s vehicle had been chasing another car through town.

During the trial, the judge ruled that the chase had ended and DeValkenaere and his partner did not have a warrant, probable cause, or permission to be on privae property where the shooting happened. DeValkenaere’s attorney argued that he shot Lamb because Lamb reached for a gun and DeValkenaere was worried about his partner.

In the letter to the governor, Baker argued that DeValkenaere was fairly convicted and sentenced under Missouri law; a pardon would subvert the rule of law, and the appellate process has not yet concluded.

Community response

“It’s always very political,” said Merlon Ragland, a close friend of Lamb’s family. “It’s very political. It’s saddening because the community already has a distrust of police.”

Local faith leaders gathered outside the Jackson County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon clearly disappointed and disgusted with any potential pardon.

“I know he (Parson) has a law enforcement background but he’s not here in Kansas City,” said Reverend Emanuel Cleaver III. “He’s going to widen the gap between minority communities and law enforcement.”

Cameron Lamb’s family was present at the protest but did not speak. They simply prayed.

KCTV5 reached out to DeValkenaere’s attorney to see if a pardon has been officially discussed or filed. We have not had a response.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, also opined on the prosecutor’s statement: