New developments in the case of Credit Union of Atlanta CEO DeFarra "Dean" Gaymon, fatally shot by an undercover Essex County Sheriff’s officer during a July 2010 crackdown on gay cruising in Newark. Officer Edward Esposito—the police officer who killed the unarmed man—may "have been involved in at least three 2009 public sex arrests that also turned violent," reports Duncan Osborne at Gay City News.
[Essex County Sheriff’s Office] released records on 167 arrests or investigations, with 148 of those occurring in Branch Brook Park. Of the 148, 130 were arrests of men who may have been cruising for sex or, in some cases, were observed having sex with other men. While information that identifies the defendants or undercover officers was redacted, Esposito’s name was not blacked out in a July 22, 2009 record. In that case, Esposito arrested a 41-year-old man for criminal sexual contact, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault on a police officer in South Mountain Reservation.
According to the report, the man walked up to Esposito and "reached out with his right hand and pulled my penis through my pants while he stated ‘nice.’" This occurred without any conversation or prompting. The man pushed Esposito and fled when the detective identified himself, according to the official account. When caught, the man punched Esposito in the chest.
Up to 16 arrests possibly made by Esposito follow a disturbingly similar pattern.
On August 18, 2009, a 48-year-old man was charged with criminal sexual contact, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault on a police officer in South Mountain Reservation after he “began to rub his penis through his pants with his right hand while he sat on a log and groaned,” without prompting, in front of an undercover officer. At his arrest, that man allegedly fought with police and was sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray.
The following day, August 19, also in South Mountain Reservation, a 39-year-old man faced the same charges as well as obstruction after he “walked up from behind me and pinched my left buttocks and then reached around and grabbed my genitals and penis while he made a groaning sound,” the report said. No conversation preceded that action. He fled when the undercover announced himself and then allegedly fought with police. He was sprayed “in the face” with pepper spray.
The signatures in the three reports are only partially obscured and are similar to each other. Additionally, the signatures are similar to Esposito’s signature on the 2009 mortgage for his New Jersey home. Gay City News found another 16 reports from 2009 and 2010 that matched the July 22 report text and signature. Resisting arrest was charged in two of those cases, along with criminal sexual contact,
The report adds: "A persistent theme in the 130 reports is that plainclothes officers were walking through a park when a man, without any prompting, exposed himself or grabbed the officer’s crotch. Those reports do not include complaints from citizens claiming they encountered such unwanted attention.
On July 16, the Montclair, NJ native had driven to New Jersey from his suburban Atlanta home to attend his high school’s 30th reunion. Esposito claims Gaymon was masturbating in the park when he approached the detective. Officials said there was a chase and the officer fired one shot after the unarmed man "reached in his pocket and lunged" at the officer. There were no witnesses.
DeFarra Gaymon was married with four children. Gaymon's family has disputed the official version but has not commented on 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.
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