Family of Cameron Lamb, Black Man Killed in Backyard By White Cop, Sues Police for $10M

The family of Cameron Lamb, a Black man killed in his own backyard by a white cop in 2019, is suing the Kansas City Police Department and the officer for $10 million.

The lawsuit, filed by Lamb's four minor children, accuses detective Eric DeValkanaere of violating Lamb's civil rights when he ran onto Lamb's property without a warrant and fatally shot Lamb while he sat in his pickup truck.

DeValkanaere has been suspended for more than a year and is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in connection with Lamb's death.

The police department declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing a policy against commenting on pending litigation, according to the Associated Press.

It is unknown if DeValkanaere has a lawyer who will represent him in the civil suit. He is represented by a public defender in the criminal case.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Kansa City Police Protest
Demonstrators and police face each other during a protest at the Country Club Plaza on May 31, 2020, in Kansas City, Missouri. The family of Cameron Lamb are suing the Kansas City police department for $10 million after Lamb was fatally shot in his own backyard by a white police officer in 2019. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Court records in DeValkenaere's criminal case say he and another officer were investigating an earlier disturbance involving Lamb's truck and another vehicle when they went into Lamb's backyard on Dec. 3, 2019. DeValkenaere said he shot Lamb, who was still in his truck after backing it into the garage, after Lamb pointed a gun at the other officer.

A police investigation into the shooting said Lamb's left arm was hanging out of the truck and a gun was found on the ground beneath his hand.

But prosecutors and attorneys for Lamb's family say Lamb was right-handed and did not have full use of his left hand as a result of an injury sustained in 2015. The lawsuit accuses Police Chief Rick Smith of assigning a former supervisor of DeValkenaere's to conduct the investigation into the shooting and failing to tell prosecutors of the supervisor's connection to DeValkenaere.

Lamb's family has doggedly sought answers to questions about his killing, meeting with then-President Donald Trump last summer along with other families of people slain by police or while in custody. Lamb's children are being represented by S. Lee Merritt, a Texas civil rights attorney who represents several other families of Black people killed by police.

Cameron Lamb Lawsuit
In this Aug. 28, 2020 file photo, Laurie Bey, right, whose son Cameron Lamb was shot and killed by Kansas City police in 2019, stands with Merlon Ragland, Cameron's aunt, as demonstrators gather at the Lincoln Memorial as final preparations are made for the March on Washington in Washington. Lamb's family is suing Kansas City police and the officer. The Kansas City Star reports that the lawsuit was filed Monday, June 28, 2021, in federal court on behalf of 26-year-old Cameron Lamb's four minor children. Jonathan Ernst/Pool via AP