KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Members of the community, including a former police officer, respond to the audio that raises questions about the fatal shooting of Cameron Lamb.
A source confirmed to KSHB 41 that the audio relates to the moments after Cameron Lamb was shot by a Kansas City, Missouri, police detective who was recently convicted manslaughter.
The source also confirmed that Kansas City Police Department Chief Rick Smith was the one who said, “Is everyone okay?” Is the house bright? The villain is dead?
This is the latest question that caused a quick reaction from the community after the audio aired on Tuesday.
Darron Edwards, a local pastor, said calling Lamb a “bad guy” soon after arriving at the scene is painful and further erodes trust between the police and the community, especially for people of color.
“The first thing that came to my mind was what happened to decency and dignity? Edwards said.
Edwards also took issue with the answer to the question “Is everyone okay?” “
“This family has lost a loved one and more attention is being paid to ‘Everybody’s fine.’ Not everyone was doing well at the crime scene and one person lost their life,” Edwards said.
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But, there are members of the community who see this situation differently.
Dr John Hamilton, a professor of criminal justice at Park University and a former police officer, believes the situation is misinterpreted.
“I think part of the problem is the context in which things happen,” Hamilton said. “Bad guy” is one of those general terms we often use to indicate that someone we believe has broken the law or poses a threat to the community or to ourselves. It really has no other connotation than that.
Edwards said that while he could understand how the choice of words could be considered a “store talk,” he believes the words demonstrate a lack of compassion. He said this indicated the situation had been adjudicated before the evidence was gathered.
“I really believe (Smith) was playing the role of judge and jury,” Edwards said. “He said what he had to say, he was protecting his officers instead of serving and protecting the community.”
Edwards and Hamilton agree on one thing.
“I think there has to be a dialogue between law enforcement and the community,” Hamilton said.
Edward wants the chef to take care of the audio. He said the police and the community must communicate in order to break down barriers.
“When you’re trying to build bridges and the KCPD has walls, it’s hard to bring about these courageous discussions,” Edwards said.
Smith declined to be interviewed for this story.