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Man Killed in Newark Sex Sting Helpless When Officer Shot, Lawsuit Says

Gaymon DeFarra was shot to death in Newark’s Branch Brook Park on July 16, 2010.

DeFarra Gaymon was shot to death in Newark’s Branch Brook Park on July 16, 2010.

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE | New documents filed in a lawsuit suggest that a sheriff’s deputy may have had DeFarra Gaymon under control just before he shot and killed the unarmed man during a 2010 public sex sting in a Newark park.

“Officer Esposito chased decedent Gaymon to a pond located within the park,” wrote Christopher W. Kinum, the attorney for the Gaymon family, in an amended complaint filed in federal court on February 15. “Decedent Gaymon got down on his knees. At this point, decedent Gaymon had no avenue of escape due to the pond being in front of him… Officer Esposito approached decedent Gaymon from behind. Defendant Officer Esposito kicked decedent Gaymon several times.”

Amended complaint in 2010 DeFarra Gaymon death points to statement sheriff’s deputy Edward Esposito made days later

The complaint asserts that Edward Esposito, a sheriff’s deputy in the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, then drew his gun and fired a single shot into the 48-year-old Gaymon’s stomach, killing him.

“At the time he was shot, Defarra was unarmed and helpless, and in no way posed a threat to Defendant Officer Esposito’s safety or to the safety of any other persons,” wrote Kinum, who wrote in a separate brief that he was relying on “Officer Esposito’s written statement made three days after the shooting.”

That statement has not been made public.

The killing occurred in Newark’s Branch Brook Park on July 16, 2010. In 2011, an Essex County grand jury declined to indict Esposito on any criminal charges. The Gaymon family sued Esposito, the county, the sheriff’s office, and two senior officers in that office in 2011. The amended complaint names additional sheriff’s officers.

In a 2011 statement, the Essex County prosecutor’s office said the chase led to the pond, with Gaymon repeatedly threatening Esposito, and that Gaymon “then lunged at and attempted to disarm the officer while reaching into his own pocket. Fearing for his life, the officer discharged his service weapon, hitting Mr. Gaymon once.”

Esposito and his partner were in plainclothes and conducting a public sex sting. Just prior to the shooting, they fought with another man and Esposito lost his handcuffs. After that first man was secured, Esposito went back into the park to retrieve his handcuffs when he encountered Gaymon, “who was engaged in a sex act at the time,” according to the prosecutor’s statement.

Esposito is the sole witness to the killing.

In 2009, Esposito was involved in three public sex arrests that also turned violent. Resisting arrest was charged in another two Esposito arrests that year. Gaymon was the head of an Atlanta credit union and was in Newark to attend his high school reunion. He was married with four children.

These new facts make the circumstances of the killing murkier. None of the parties in the lawsuit responded to emails seeking an explanation or comment. The prosecutor’s office referred questions to the attorney representing the county.

“How did DeFarra Gaymon end up dead?” said William Dobbs, a longtime gay activist who has followed the case closely. “The latest court papers are alarming. Let’s hope some truth comes out. On a beautiful, sunny day, how and why did an unarmed man get killed?”

It is possible that Kinum has selected facts that are most favorable to his clients just as Esposito may have colored his facts or even lied to present himself in the best light.

An equally likely explanation is that Esposito invited Gaymon and other men to expose themselves or touch him, then arrested them when they did. That trick –– which would make the exposure or groping legal under New Jersey law –– might have made the men angry enough to fight back. They might also have believed that a man who seconds earlier had urged them to engage in sexual conduct was not a police officer, but posed a threat of some kind, leading them to react with violence.

Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide gay lobby, was still reviewing the court documents as Gay City News went to press. That group has questioned the shooting and the investigation into the shooting repeatedly.

23 Responses to Man Killed in Newark Sex Sting Helpless When Officer Shot, Lawsuit Says

  1. Simon February 21, 2013 at 11:22 am

    You can have all the gay marriages you want, turning conservative doesn't change the fact that we're still being treated as fags and always will be treated as fags by a straight society. And we have been betrayed and sold-out by the gays and lesbians that are granted a place at the table of power. I'd rather have a straight male mayor than a gay or lesbian one that needs to distance herself/himself as far as possible from the "dirty stuff" queers do (comp. Koch or Quinn).

  2. Carl February 21, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Thanks Gay City News for keeping us updated on this important matter. During a recent trip to Amsterdam I went to a cruisy park and was amazed to notice placards altering unaware park-goers that they are entering a cruising area and might stumble into some activity. I was staying at a friends house in Amsterdam and when I went back I asked him about it. He said that gay cruising is politically totally accepted and legal over there and that one would never end up arrested for it. As being used to puritanical and repressive America, I was simply flabbergasted. It seems that not just Amsterdam is open minded like this: A superficial internet research revealed that other cities (Paris, London, Berlin) have similar policies regarding gay cruising in public parks. I was wondering what the mayoral candidates might say when asked about their position on gay cruising – especially in the light of the homophobic murder of DeFarra Gaymon.

  3. jim fouratt February 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Entrapment is ugly and should be banned. A victimliess crime winds up with a dead, black, gay man in a dark part of a park at night..Plainclothes police officer Esposito has a history that must be considered in the discussion. Kudos to Gaymon's family for not being intimidated or shamed into not stepping up. Thank you Duncan Osborn and GCN please stay on this story … and what about a follow up on the mysteroius death of Dean Johnson and at least one other "escort' involving the same man in DC… that story just disappeared.

  4. Pingback: | Documents sayl Man Killed in Newark park Sex Sting was under control.

  5. Josephine February 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Fact: What is done in the dark will sooner or later will come to the light, so sad someone has to die to prove it:


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