Man Killed in Newark Sex Sting Helpless When Officer Shot, Lawsuit Says

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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.

New documents filed in a lawsuit suggest that a sheriff's deputy may have had DeFarra Gaymon under control just before he shot and killed the unarmed man during a 2010 public sex sting in a Newark 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.”

Amended complaint in 2010 DeFarra Gaymon death points to statement sheriff’s deputy Edward Esposito made days later

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.”

That statement has not been made public.

The killing occurred in Newark’s Branch Brook Park on July 16, 2010. In 2011, an Essex County grand jury declined to indict Esposito on any criminal charges. The Gaymon family sued Esposito, the county, the sheriff’s office, and two senior officers in that office in 2011. The amended complaint names additional sheriff’s officers.

In a 2011 statement, the Essex County prosecutor’s office said the chase led to the pond, with Gaymon repeatedly threatening Esposito, and that Gaymon “then lunged at and attempted to disarm the officer while reaching into his own pocket. Fearing for his life, the officer discharged his service weapon, hitting Mr. Gaymon once.”

Esposito and his partner were in plainclothes and conducting a public sex sting. Just prior to the shooting, they fought with another man and Esposito lost his handcuffs. After that first man was secured, Esposito went back into the park to retrieve his handcuffs when he encountered Gaymon, “who was engaged in a sex act at the time,” according to the prosecutor’s statement.

Esposito is the sole witness to the killing.

In 2009, Esposito was involved in three public sex arrests that also turned violent. Resisting arrest was charged in another two Esposito arrests that year. Gaymon was the head of an Atlanta credit union and was in Newark to attend his high school reunion. He was married with four children.

These new facts make the circumstances of the killing murkier. None of the parties in the lawsuit responded to emails seeking an explanation or comment. The prosecutor’s office referred questions to the attorney representing the county.

“How did DeFarra Gaymon end up dead?” said William Dobbs, a longtime gay activist who has followed the case closely. “The latest court papers are alarming. Let’s hope some truth comes out. On a beautiful, sunny day, how and why did an unarmed man get killed?”

It is possible that Kinum has selected facts that are most favorable to his clients just as Esposito may have colored his facts or even lied to present himself in the best light.

An equally likely explanation is that Esposito invited Gaymon and other men to expose themselves or touch him, then arrested them when they did. That trick –– which would make the exposure or groping legal under New Jersey law –– might have made the men angry enough to fight back. They might also have believed that a man who seconds earlier had urged them to engage in sexual conduct was not a police officer, but posed a threat of some kind, leading them to react with violence.

Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide gay lobby, was still reviewing the court documents as Gay City News went to press. That group has questioned the shooting and the investigation into the shooting repeatedly.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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Reader feedback

Simon says:
You can have all the gay marriages you want, turning conservative doesn't change the fact that we're still being treated as fags and always will be treated as fags by a straight society. And we have been betrayed and sold-out by the gays and lesbians that are granted a place at the table of power. I'd rather have a straight male mayor than a gay or lesbian one that needs to distance herself/himself as far as possible from the "dirty stuff" queers do (comp. Koch or Quinn).
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:22 am
Carl says:
Thanks Gay City News for keeping us updated on this important matter. During a recent trip to Amsterdam I went to a cruisy park and was amazed to notice placards altering unaware park-goers that they are entering a cruising area and might stumble into some activity. I was staying at a friends house in Amsterdam and when I went back I asked him about it. He said that gay cruising is politically totally accepted and legal over there and that one would never end up arrested for it. As being used to puritanical and repressive America, I was simply flabbergasted. It seems that not just Amsterdam is open minded like this: A superficial internet research revealed that other cities (Paris, London, Berlin) have similar policies regarding gay cruising in public parks. I was wondering what the mayoral candidates might say when asked about their position on gay cruising - especially in the light of the homophobic murder of DeFarra Gaymon.
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:41 am
jim fouratt says:
Entrapment is ugly and should be banned. A victimliess crime winds up with a dead, black, gay man in a dark part of a park at night..Plainclothes police officer Esposito has a history that must be considered in the discussion. Kudos to Gaymon's family for not being intimidated or shamed into not stepping up. Thank you Duncan Osborn and GCN please stay on this story ... and what about a follow up on the mysteroius death of Dean Johnson and at least one other "escort' involving the same man in DC... that story just disappeared.
Feb. 21, 2013, 5:30 pm
Josephine says:
Fact: What is done in the dark will sooner or later will come to the light, so sad someone has to die to prove it:
Feb. 22, 2013, 3:29 pm
Simon says:
Gaymon didn't end up dead in a "dark part of a park at night"; he was executed by a police officer in broad day light during a homophobic sting operation in a Newark park! And having consensual sex with another adult in a public park isn't a "victimless crime" either -- please be a little bit aware of the language you're using!
Feb. 23, 2013, 9:58 am
Simon says:
Your "Fact" is wrong, dear Josephine, Gaymon wasn't murdered by the police in the dark -- he was shot by the cop during the day and in broad day light. I don't understand why you would use such sensationalist language ("What is done in the dark..."): This isn't the New York Post reporting about Times Square movie theaters...
Feb. 23, 2013, 10:07 am
NJKJ says:
I'm sure African-Americans thought the same thing in the 1950s and 60s. But I think you're wrong. I see straight attitudes change every day, it's precisely why marriage equality is gaining support. There are plenty of straight people--me included--who don't think anything of the kind. In fact, I'm not even sure "queer" is even all that queer any more. It seems the real problem bigots have with gays isn't that you're gay, it's more about your quest not to have to hide it. The world will get over it, just be you.
Feb. 23, 2013, 1:16 pm
Simon says:
Straight people are only OK with it if we tame our sexualities, don't talk about the fact that we take it up the ass, close the bedroom doors and don't cruise in public, and simply live like straight people do. The desire of some gays to get married and live according to a (historically fucked-up) straight model is a deeply conservative impulse. Have you ever read the column in favor of gay marriage by the conservative New York Times journalist David Brooks? If not, read it, you will understand what I'm talking about.
Feb. 23, 2013, 3:34 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
You're right Simon, and Niki is wrong. The issue, as I see it, is a society that has never come to terms with its own homosexuality. It's utter crap to say homosexuality is limited to a minority of the population. Study after study shows homophobia is linked to repressed homosexuality, and we know how widespread the problem is. Having said that, it sounds, by all accounts, that Esposito was himself homosexual and sought to both express it, and deny it, through violence.
Feb. 23, 2013, 4:42 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
It would be surprising if mayoral endorsee, Christine Quinn, supports legalising gay beats. ...but she should!
Feb. 23, 2013, 4:47 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
Simon, easy on Jim and Josephine. We're all at different stages of emotional development...some still in the dark ages.
Feb. 23, 2013, 5:06 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
NJKJ, it's unfair to compare gay people to African-Americans. You see, African-Americans can marry caucasions, whereas gay people are limited to a minority of the population.
Feb. 23, 2013, 5:34 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
Simon, I support queer marriage, but only if conservative religious institutions are compelled to marry us. I mean, why should they be exempt if anti-discrimination laws are paid for by our taxes?
Feb. 23, 2013, 6 pm
NJKJ says:
Not the point of the comparison. I was speaking specifically to Simon's characterization of gays as outsiders or "other" just as African-Americans always have been. Now, even though racism is far from non-existent, I think most thinking people don't necessarily view blacks as "other," although plenty still do (witness the jacked up jokes about President Obama). It'll be a long battle for gays too, but I think more people accept you for who you are. You can't tell me most young people who haven't been completely corrupted by the batshit crazy right give a rat's ass about whether or not you're gay. Discrimination in America is almost always insanely similar whether it's race, sexual orientation, anti-semitism or anti-woman sentiment. And as you well know interracial marriage wasn't legal until the latter half of the 20th century. In some places it's probably still not advisable. So, you have an uphill battle. Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave. America's mythology about freedom and justice, is just that: mythology. Frederick Douglass said power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will. So you're in for a fight, but it won't last forever.
Feb. 23, 2013, 6:20 pm
NJKJ says:
Human sexuality runs along a spectrum. From purely gay all the way to the other end to purely straight and everything in between. The ":normal" that people speak to is a social construct, just as race is a social construct. I don't know how many people are gay or straight and neither do you. I'm sure homophobia is sometimes the product of repressed homosexuality, but everyone who hates gays is not repressed. A whole lot of people really believe that God or Jesus is on their side. They don't have to be gay to be using religion to support their homophobia. The people who like to argue against homosexuality on religious grounds think they're right and closer to God and therefore you're wrong and therefore not closer to God. Does this apply to Michele Bachmann's husband, Marcus? No, I'm pretty sure he's gay and self-hating. But what about Sarah Palin? No, equally pretty sure she just thinks she has a direct line to God and he said gays are bad. Is she mis-reading the Bible? Yes, as she is mis-reading (or in her case probably never actually read) history. Gay marriage hasn't always been outlawed or even viewed as unacceptable. Not so in certain Native American cultures or in certain strains of old-time Christianity. This society is a single moment in time and you can't use it to judge all of history. Hell, churches buried a bunch of history they just don't want you to know including that related to the fact that women were often viewed as superior to men and that same sex relationships weren't always viewed as wrong.
Feb. 23, 2013, 6:37 pm
Jammin says:
ABSOLUTELY, Simon! Quinn would sell her own mother to get elected.
Feb. 23, 2013, 10:13 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
You're wrong that discrimination is always similar. Discrimination, based on sexuality, is the worst discrimination by far. Far worse than race, anti-Semitism, gender, etc. For example, I work in a major federal company, yet have never heard a derogatory term about an indigenous person. However, derogatory terms describing gay people are uttered on a daily basis.
Feb. 25, 2013, 10:41 pm
Simon says:
Stuart, most of your comments on this forum are peppered with incendiary and ahistorical remarks regarding African Americans (I would argue that they are outright racist!). As you can see, some of them have been deleted; this is because I have reported them. I'm tired of reading your shit on here. Please go somewhere else to pollute forums with your dung.
Feb. 26, 2013, 1:25 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
Simon, exactly what's racist? To be clear, African-American people, or American-Latinos for that matter, can marry anyone of 97% of the population, whereas gay people, where same-sex marriage is allowed, get to choose from only only 3%. On that, how are your marriage prospects going? Found anyone yet? Personally, I think I'd stand more chance being African, or Latino, and straight!
Feb. 26, 2013, 3:57 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
"Mis-reading the Bible"? NJKJ, I wouldn't credit it with an upper-case "b".
Feb. 27, 2013, 3:27 am
Simon says:
I mean, you at least realize that this argument is total nonsense, right?!
Feb. 27, 2013, 4:35 pm
Stuart Baanstra says:
You're the one who says we're "still being treated as fags and always will be". How do you propose to fix it? Obviously not with a "lesbian mayor", as you'd rather a "male one". Perhaps I should report you for being sexist?
Feb. 27, 2013, 10:53 pm

Comments closed.


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