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Kansas City indicts police detective after new scrutiny in death of black man last year

Kansas City indicts police detective after new scrutiny in death of black man last year
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A Kansas City detective was indicted by a grand jury Thursday following the shooting death of a black man in his own backyard in December.

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced that Eric J. DeValkenaere had been charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in connection to the death of Cameron Lamb, Kansas City's NPR station reported.

On Dec. 3, DeValkenaere shot and killed Lamb while Lamb was sitting in his truck.

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The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) has said that officers saw a red pickup truck chasing a purple Mustang. Officers, with the help of a police helicopter, followed the truck to the backyard of Lamb's home.

When a pair of plainclothes officers entered the backyard of the house, KCPD said that Lamb allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at one of the officers. DeValkenaere immediately shot, hitting and killing Lamb, 26.

Baker said that DeValkenaere violated the Fourth Amendment.

“The defendant’s reckless behavior began by entering the victim’s property without a consent, without a warrant, knocking over a fence to gain entry into that backyard and firing his weapon, killing Cameron within seconds of entry,” Baker said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

She added that the KCPD had not cooperated with the investigation, refusing to produce a probable cause report after she formally asked for one.

“I was told in meetings thereafter with the representatives of the department that my actions would greatly harm the department’s morale,” Baker explained. “That probable cause statement has yet to come. So we went to the grand jury today. Although a pandemic threatened to delay this even further, we believed it was necessary to present this evidence.”

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The indictment comes amidst ongoing protests demanding justice for George Floyd and an end to police brutality.

Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25 when an officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. His death has sparked a massive nationwide movement, with millions of Americans demanding real institutional change when it comes to policing and systemic racism in the country.

Since then, many cities and states have begun to initiate sweeping police reform.

Lamb's was one of several families of slain African Americans to meet with President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE this week to discuss reform efforts.