An update to the tragic case of DeFarra "Dean" Gaymon, the Credit Union of Atlanta CEO who was shot by an undercover Essex County Sheriff’s officer in a Newark park. The officer has been identified by name, reports The Star Ledger.
The detective is 29-year-old Edward Esposito, of Morris County, who in May was awarded a medal of merit—along with three other officers—for his part in trying to break up an attempted carjacking in November. He was also, at one point, the driver for Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who attended the award ceremony. Montclair.Patch.com first identified Esposito, whom authorities have so far refused to name, saying he works undercover. The website cited unnamed law enforcement sources in its report. The Star-Ledger also confirmed Eposito’s identity as the shooter from similar law enforcement officials... Esposito has been a sheriff's officer for eight years.
Esposito shot 48-year-old DeFarra Gaymon on July 16, at about 6 p.m. after approaching the undercover detective while masturbating and soliciting sex, authorities said. Esposito was patrolling the park with another officer as part of a sheriff's detail to curtail public sex in the park, sheriff's officials have said. Gaymon, who was unarmed, "appeared to panic" when Esposito showed his badge, authorities have said. Gaymon shoved the officer to the ground and threatened to kill him, according to Essex County Acting Prosecutor Robert Laurino, citing the officer's statement to investigators. Prosecutors have said that there were no witnesses to the shooting.
Gaymon was married with four children. The banker had driven to New Jersey from his suburban Atlanta home to attend his high school’s 30th reunion, which he had planned. The event was to take place later that evening.
Friends and family dispute the official version of the events in Newark's Branch Brook Park. "The statement is a blatant lie concocted after four days of unexplained silence," Gaymon's family said in a written statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The sister of the deceased, Kelly Gaymon Armstrong, adds: "I do not believe that story. Not one bit. That is not my brother's character."
The family has not commented on the sexual angle of the story.
The family has asked the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark to take over the investigation. On Thursday, the ACLU of New Jersey and Garden State Equality formally requested the state attorney general conduct an independent investigation into the shooting.
Esposito is now on medical leave following the incident and has not been disciplined by the Essex County Sheriff. There have been nine police-related shootings in Essex County so far this year. DeFarra Gaymon is the sixth person to die in an officer-involved shooting in Essex County in 2010. The case is expected to be referred to a grand jury but Esposito is not expected to be charged.