Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said Tuesday that it pained him to hear an audio recording of Police Chief Rick Smith saying the “bad guy’s dead” minutes after a Kansas City Police detective shot and killed Cameron Lamb.
Mayor Lucas said in a tweet that he planned to have a discussion with Chief Smith regarding the comment.
“As a father of a Black son and as a Black man, it pains me to hear audio during an official police investigation that denigrates a fellow human being,” Lucas tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “I will ask Chief Smith about the veracity of the audio and will withhold further comment until after our discussion.”
Smith arrived to the scene shortly after Det. Eric DeValkenaere shot Lamb as the 26-year-old backed his pickup truck into the garage of his home on Dec. 3, 2019.
Once at the scene, Smith is heard on a recording saying: “Everyone is good, house is clear. Bad guy’s dead.”
As a father of a Black son and as a Black man, it pains me to hear audio during an official police investigation that denigrates a fellow human being.
I will ask Chief Smith about the veracity of the audio and will withhold further comment until after our discussion. -Mayor Q
— Mayor Quinton Lucas (@MayorLucasKC) November 30, 2021
The recording was obtained by The Star through a Sunshine request with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
The audio was captured from an open radio of an officer who stood near Smith at the crime scene.
A source close to the investigation confirmed to The Star that it was Smith who made the remark.
DeValkenaere was found guilty of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in a bench trial earlier this month.
Sgt. Jacob Becchina, a police spokesman, said in an email the department would not comment because the case is still being adjudicated.
On Monday, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners confirmed that Smith will retire in spring 2022, several months earlier that what he had previously told the board in private. The Star reported last week that Smith was being forced out as leader of the department, following DeValkenaere’s conviction.
Activists in Kansas City applauded the news that Smith would leave his position as police chief, and hope that a new chief will mean positive change for the department and the community.
Community members and activists have long called for Smith’s resignation, citing cases of excessive force and last year’s record breaking number of homicides in Kansas City.
Lamb’s name, along with other Black men killed by Kansas City police officers, was evoked last year throughout racial justice protests in Kansas City.
The first three years of Smith’s tenure saw Kansas City police fatally shoot twice as many Black men as the first three years of the previous chief.