In Missouri, white Kansas City police detective Eric DeValkenaere was found guilty Friday of fatally shooting Cameron Lamb, a Black man, who was backing his truck into his garage in December of 2019. DeValkenaere, who had no arrest warrant nor evidence of a crime at the time of shooting, was convicted of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action. The jury decision was unexpected and may set a precedent for future cases in Missouri. The jury system “worked in Kansas City for the first time in 147 years,” says Jacob Blake Sr., who has been supporting Lamb’s family. “We should have that national coverage because that’s a victory.”
More from this Interview
- Part 1: The System Is Broken: Jacob Blake’s Dad & Uncle on Kyle Rittenhouse Acquittal for Vigilante Killings
- Part 2: Jacob Blake’s Family Hails Rare Conviction of KC Police Officer Who Shot Dead Cameron Lamb in 2019
- Part 3: “In Our DNA”: Jacob Blake’s Father & Uncle on the Family’s Long History of Racial Justice Activism
AMY GOODMAN: Let me go to that case that you’re talking about, that you’ve been following so closely, supporting the family and friends of Cameron Lamb.
JACOB BLAKE SR. I was in the courtroom. I was in the courtroom.
AMY GOODMAN: And just to explain to people, he is the Black man who was killed in Missouri by a white Kansas City police detective, who was found guilty on Friday of fatally shooting Lamb outside his own home in December of 2019. Eric DeValkenaere was convicted on charges of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action for firing two rounds at 26-year-old Cameron Lamb, who was killed as he backed his truck into his own garage. At the time, the officers had no arrest warrant and no evidence of a crime. I want to play again civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, representing Lamb’s family.
LEE MERRITT: This is momentous. This is historic. And it means something. … This is going to mean something when you go back to Georgia. It’s going to mean something for Ahmaud Arbery. It’s going to mean something for Atatiana Jefferson. It’s going to mean something for Botham Jean. It’s going to mean something for so many families that have been impacted, Jemel Roberson in Chicago, Ronald Greene in Illinois. These instances of justice in our system are far too rare.
AMY GOODMAN: So, if you can talk about why you were in the courtroom, why this case in particular was so important to you? Again, this police officer, this detective, was a white detective who has now been found guilty of murdering Cameron Lamb.
JACOB BLAKE SR. Cameron Lamb’s family reached out to me personally and the Families United, along with the justice reform group that we have established here to protect these families and stand up with these families, and invited me — wanted me to stand with them to give them strength, because they needed to feel backed up. They needed to feel someone was behind them. So we showed up in the courtroom. And me and Lee — I was there with Lee, and Lee was back and forth from Georgia to Kansas City, because Lee represents the family also. It was —
AMY GOODMAN: Of Ahmaud Arbery.
JACOB BLAKE SR. That’s why I was in the courtroom. Yeah, yeah. I mean, Lee Merritt was back and forth. Look, Lee has more frequent flyer miles than me, and that’s incredible.