The New York Times publishes an expansive profile on the tragic case of Defarra "Dean" Gaymon, the Credit Union of Atlanta CEO who was fatally shot by an undercover Essex County Sheriff’s officer last month in Newark. The piece attempts to humanize Gaymon and Officer Edward Esposito—the police officer who killed the unarmed man—and is ultimately insensitive and raises several disturbing questions.
[Gaymon] traveled extensively for work, as far as Poland this year. He collected dolls from his travels and kept them in his office. And he continued to dress the part, now that he had it. “He was an impeccable dresser,” said Rick Hammond, his boss at the South Carolina State Credit Union for several years. In hindsight, and held up against stereotypes, recollections of Mr. Gaymon’s appearance have invariably led to speculation about whether he had a double life, or a hidden one. But friends and relatives who spoke about him were quick to reel off facts that they believed suggested otherwise: His marriage. His four children. At bars, he would comment on attractive women. "I raised that young man," George Gaymon said. "I know it’s not true.” But then he added: "Even if that was the case, is that a reason to shoot to kill?"
Esposito has claimed Gaymon was masturbating in Newark's Branch Brook Park when he approached the detective. The Times describes the park as a "scene for gay cruising since the 1980s" and describes Esposito's creepy devotion to undercover park detail.
Officers are rotated in and out of the park, but a few regulars began to recognize one in particular: a man who just sat in his beige car, as if awaiting an invitation. One of those regulars, Jerome Goods, said the man arrested him one day in June, charging him with loitering for the purpose of prostitution. Mr. Goods said he wrote down the name of the officer: Esposito.
And this very interesting passage on Esposito's love of high school musical theater production.
[Esposito] was always handy, and good enough that he could make furniture. At Millburn High School, he ran the lighting programs for student plays and musicals like “The Sound of Music,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Arsenic and Old Lace.”“The stage consumed a lot of his time,” said James White, a shop teacher and technical stage director. “He was often at school until 9 at night and sometimes later.”
Esposito claims he fired one shot after the unarmed man "reached in his pocket and lunged" at the officer. There were no witnesses. Gaymon's family has disputed the official version and rejected the sexual angle of the case. New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow announced that she will not investigate the shooting. The family has asked the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark to take over the investigation.
The Essex County Sheriff has suspended the five-year park sting operation at Newark's Branch Brook Park. The Times ends its piece by noting, "On recent visits to Branch Brook Park, only the odd jogger or stroller-pushing parent walked past the notorious woods. Officers in uniform parked and chatted on the side of the road. The shooting seems to have done what hundreds of arrests over the years never could: keep men looking for sex out of the park."
You May Have Missed:
Gay Sex Sting Suspended in Newark Park After Fatal Shooting
NEWS: DeFarra Gaymon, Maxine Waters, Louis Smith, Ronaldo
NJ Atty Genl Will NOT Investigate DeFarra Gaymon Shooting
Identity of Police Officer Who Shot DeFarra Gaymon Revealed