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Officer Says Cruiser Extraordinarily Aggressive in 2010 Newark Park Killing

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 | The Essex County sheriff’s officer who shot and killed an unarmed DeFarra Gaymon during a 2010 public sex sting in a Newark park described the 48-year-old Gaymon as aggressive and repeatedly threatening him in a statement that was written three days after the July 16 shooting.

“Gaymon walked within on [sic] of me while he was masturbating his exposed penis with his right hand,” wrote Edward Esposito, who was 29 in 2010.

Esposito was on an undercover detail in Newark’s Branch Brook Park and had just made a public sex arrest of another man that turned violent. After placing that man in a police car at roughly 5:20 in the evening, Esposito went back into the park to find a set of handcuffs he lost. It was then that he encountered Gaymon.

Edward Esposito’s statement three days later asserted he feared for his life after DeFarra Gaymon’s threat of sexual assault

Esposito wrote that he “initially blocked” Gaymon, but the older man “became aggressive” and pushed him, causing Esposito to trip and fall.

“Gaymon was now standing over me and with his penis still exposed he stated ‘I am gonna fuck you,’” Esposito wrote. “At this time I was still on the ground and I identified myself by word of mouth and display of badge.”

Gaymon “became visibly panicked and appeared to be enraged,” Esposito wrote, and a foot chase through the park began. At 6:03, Esposito called his partner to tell him he was pursuing a man in the park, according to records disclosed by the Essex County prosecutor’s office in 2011 after a grand jury declined to indict Esposito. The chase took them more than a quarter mile from the location of the initial meeting

At one moment, Esposito wrote, Gaymon said, “Get back, I’ll kill you.” The sheriff’s officer took his gun out.

“I became in fear for my life due to his aggressive and desperate behavior where he was provoking me and threatening my life,” he wrote. “Since he was becoming increasingly desperate and threatening, I retrieved my service weapon because I was in fear for my life.”

Esposito kept his weapon out as he continued to chase Gaymon. The pursuit ended when Gaymon was trapped with a pond in front of him and Esposito standing behind him. Esposito wrote that Gaymon would not obey his orders to show his hands, though the older man did get down on his knees.

“He began yelling at me ‘Fuck you, I’ll kill you’ in a very aggressive and desperate manner which further put me in fear for my life,” Esposito wrote. “I then made several attempts to push Gaymon off balance with my foot in an attempt to get him on the ground so I could safely handcuff him.”

Esposito’s statement, which has not previously been made public, was filed on April 12 in a federal lawsuit the Gaymon family brought against Esposito, the sheriff’s office, and Essex County. In court records, the family asserted that Esposito repeatedly kicked Gaymon while he was on his knees.

In addition to the arrest just prior to the Gaymon killing, Esposito is known to have been involved in three 2009 public sex arrests that also turned violent.

Esposito wrote that Gaymon would not obey commands to show his hands. The older man “suddenly turned to his left and towards me and attempted to stand” and lunged for Esposito’s gun with his left hand while “pulling an object out of his pocket with his right hand,” according to the officer’s statement.

Esposito pulled the trigger on his gun twice, but heard only one shot. The bullet struck Gaymon in the torso. At 6:04, Esposito used his cell phone to call the sheriff’s office central dispatch to request medical assistance and report that he had been involved in a shooting.

In his statement, Esposito wrote that Gaymon still would not show his hands after being shot, but he eventually handcuffed him. Esposito found no weapons on Gaymon.

Esposito’s description of Gaymon’s behavior departs from the usual behavior of public sex devotees, who tend to be discreet. If Gaymon was cruising for sex, he had good reasons to take care to avoid an arrest. He was married with four children and he was the chief executive of an Atlanta credit union. He was in Newark to attend a high school reunion.

William Dobbs, an attorney and longtime gay activist who has followed the shooting closely, did not find Esposito’s statement credible.

“The statement Officer Esposito gave is just stomach-churning,” Dobbs said. “An unarmed man allegedly looking for a hook-up in the park ends up shot and killed. The killing still makes no sense, and there is something very odd and strange about Esposito’s account.”

 

 

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10 Responses to Officer Says Cruiser Extraordinarily Aggressive in 2010 Newark Park Killing

  1. Stuart Baanstra April 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    The officer's been watching too many police dramas.

    Reply
  2. Simon April 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Oh my god, this officer's account is so incredibly outrageous! It's completely unbelievable! I suspect that the cop executed Gaymon in an outbreak of homophobic rage.

    Reply
    • Stuart Baanstra April 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      Yes Simon. It's hard to believe that mere exposure, or proposition for sex, should cause offence. Even if he was masturbating, where's the grounds for arrest?

      Reply
  3. ludwig April 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Sex is a very natural thing and no one should be arrested for having sex unless one of the party is coerced or raped. IF parties involved were consenting heterosexuals –they would probably been no arrest as time and time again has shown and why are the Police violating the Constitution under Lawrence vs Texas .. When the Courts and legislators of this country going to remove the criminality of what comes naturally off the books?

    Reply
    • Stuart Baanstra April 20, 2013 at 4:13 am

      Ludwig, I'm from New Zealand where they've just passed gay marriage. It was tabled as a private member's Bill by a lesbian MP in the sitting government. In an interview, Louisa Wall, sponsoring the Bill, said religious organisations should never be forced to officiate same-sex nuptials and that she absolutely respected their views on homosexuality. Why am I saying all this? Queer lobbyists, like Wall, are trading our dignity so she and her girlfriend can marry, irrespective of hate-speech laws, she endorsed, inciting people to call us an abomination. Esposito's trigger is the quote from the bible that says we die.

      Reply
    • Simon April 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Ludwig, I agree with your argument. However, in the New York context I would strongly emphasize making a connection between the targeting of gay people and their sexualities with the current debate about Stop-and-Frisk. New York is anything but that "liberal" mecca for gay people that some claim it is. Even some in the so called "progressive" gay community seem uncomfortable with the issue of our multifaceted sexualities and fail to stand up when under attack. For example, I have repeatedly send the Gay City News alerts by email about the NYPD's targeting of gay cruisers in Prospect Park but, for some reason, to no avail. I don't know what the reason is for keeping the issue under the rug; however, I have my own suspicions (gay marriage discourse, race, class, etc.). But I can assure you that the situation in the park is mind-boggling and that the cruising has virtually been stamped out.

      Reply
      • Stuart Baanstra April 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

        Simon, no one's explained at what time Gaymon put his exposed penis back in his pants which, according to Esposito, he was "masturbating with his right hand" (the gay man, not the officer). Are we to assume Gaymon went for quite a run with that thing bouncing up and down?

        Reply
  4. Lara April 20, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks to the Gay City News for keeping us updated about the police murder of DeFarra Gaymon. The police officer's account is so blatantly grotesque, it's completely unbelievable. But while we stand in solidarity with DeFarra Gaymon and rightly focus on his murder, we should also address the underlying problem that led to his death. What are the police (in undercover) doing in the section of a park where men who have sex with other men meet; consensually, with no "crimes" being committed? Such police operations are by nature always guided by homophobia, disproportion, and a general impulse to oppress queer sexualities.

    Reply
    • Stuart Baanstra April 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Good point Lara…which begs the question, "what are men doing looking for sex in public parks"? Is it that they don't find what they're looking for in the pretense of contemporary gay society.?

      Reply
  5. Skyler April 27, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I understand that public indecency will land you jail time. I do believe that this story seems a bit exaggerated to lend the officer more crediability concidering he has other incidents like this that have resulted in violence. I think the most disconcerting thought is how incredibly detailed the account was. Are we supposed believe that a older man ran away from an officer exposed, tried to physically disarm him while a gun was pointed at him, and concidering his age was that aggressive instead of just trying to get away and remain discreet?

    Reply

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