There are new developments in the case of an unarmed Atlanta banking executive who was fatally shot by an Essex County Sheriff's Police officer in a Newark, New Jersey park on July 16 2010. The family of DeFarra Gaymon has filed a federal lawsuit against the county, reports Gay City News' Duncan Osborne.
The lawsuit claims excessive force and says Gaymon was "under control ... unarmed and helpless" before he was shot and killed during the public sex sting in the 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."
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."
On July 16 2010, 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 of events but has not commented on the sexual angle of the case. Family, friends and co-workers say the descriptions of Gaymon's alleged violent behavior are "uncharacteristic" and possibly even fabricated.
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," reported Gay City News in January 2011. Up to 16 arrests possibly made by Esposito follow a disturbingly similar pattern. An Essex County grand jury chose not to file charges against the officer in June 2011.
The Essex County Sheriff has suspended the five-year park sting operation at Newark's Branch Brook Park.
Read R20"s complete covereage HERE.
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