Crime | Law Enforcement | Newark | News | Public Sex

CEO Shot to Death by Cop at 'Gay' Cruising Spot in Newark

DeFarra Gaymon, the successful CEO of Credit Union of Atlanta, was shot and killed by a police officer in Newark, New Jersey last week after allegedly propositioning the officer at a cruising area to which he had made a detour on the way to his 30th high school reunion.

Gaymon Details regarding Gaymon's death, mostly from the one-sided perspective of the officer who shot him, are emerging:

On Tuesday, the acting Essex County prosecutor gave the first detailed, public description of what happened in the wooded park that night, saying that the officer, who had tried to arrest Mr. Gaymon, 48, over lewd behavior, fired in self-defense. The prosecutor, Robert D. Laurino, said that Mr. Gaymon assaulted the officer, a 29-year-old member of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, tried to flee and then, when cornered, attempted to disarm the officer.

The incident, despite whatever your personal opinions are about consensual sex in public places (between men, most of whom do not identify as gay), begs the question of why police budget and resources are being spent to send armed officers to deal with this type of behavior.

Around 6 p.m., after chasing down a man and arresting him, the officer realized he had lost his handcuffs in the pursuit and went back into the woods, alone, to retrieve them, the prosecutor said.

“The plainclothes officer was bending down to retrieve his handcuffs,” Mr. Laurino said, “when he was approached by Mr. Gaymon, who was engaged in a sexual act at the time.” Words were exchanged that the prosecutor said “would lead one to believe that” Mr. Gaymon was propositioning the officer.

“The officer pulled out his badge, identified himself as a police officer and informed Mr. Gaymon that he was under arrest,” Mr. Laurino said. Then, he said, Mr. Gaymon shoved the officer to the ground and ran, ignored the officer’s demands to stop, and repeatedly threatened to kill the officer if he approached. The officer cornered Mr. Gaymon beside a pond and tried to handcuff him, Mr. Laurino said, but again Mr. Gaymon resisted.

“Mr. Gaymon reached into his pocket and lunged at the officer in an attempt to disarm the officer,” Mr. Laurino said. The officer, “fearing for his life,” the prosecutor said, shot Mr. Gaymon once, and he died at the hospital three hours later.

Mr. Laurino’s statement was based on an account given by the officer to investigators. Prosecutors said they knew of no one else who saw what happened, and they asked that any witnesses step forward.

A married father of four is now dead because someone on the Newark police force felt that eradicating this behavior was more of a priority than all of the other problems in that city.

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  1. Per New Jersey court precedent, Mr. Gaymon should not have been arrested:

    Sure, people shouldn't cruise parks, but sex stings don't actually deter that behavior. Signage, surveillance cameras, and uniform patrols are all actually more effective and less costly to the taxpayer. Whether or not the officer is telling the truth about the details of the shooting, Mr. Gaymon is still dead because of police misconduct.

    Posted by: potted palms | Jul 21, 2010 11:13:08 AM

  2. "engaged in a sexual act" does not mean he was having sex with another person at the time (again, no witnesses). it prob means he was touching himself, etc

    Posted by: JJ | Jul 21, 2010 11:20:21 AM

  3. The cop's story doesn't add up, but further, they are shielding him from reporters so that he doesn't have to answer any questions. Also, I think he was 29, not a 29-year veteran.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 21, 2010 11:32:30 AM

  4. Whether the victim in question was out or closeted is irrelevant to the situation- clearly the Newark Cop thought he was executing a faggot, and a minority as well, and had no problem with that.

    Maybe he thought he would get an extra donut.

    Posted by: WorldOJeff | Jul 21, 2010 11:38:02 AM

  5. Gay men are so stupid to think that this police officer wanted to kill this man; it does not add up like reminds me of when other minority groups such as blacks and hispanics cry foul when it is their community that needs and requires the most monitoring...

    Let's be honest most of the gay clubs and scenes are VERY unsafe...drugs are being sold and used...the domestic violence in the gay community goes unreported as well as other behaviors. It is all in an effort to keep the pretty shine on a dull and tarnished is a facade!

    Look at the countless murders from hooking up; the fantasy of straight men that a gay man can seduce for sex has ended pretty badly...also the number of HIV cases that are on the rise due to the acceptance of bareback sex as a fetish. Let's not forget the racism that is rampant...

    Even on this website that only shows a black man in the following ways: he has hurt/killed a white; he is killed for being gay or he is half naked and it is time to pronounce how sexually free we are my stating...we would hit that...if you don't believe me find three article that does not fit into one of these categories.

    So where is this list of places that straight people have sex?

    Using such antiquated terms as "make out point or lovers lane" is just plain stupid and it reeks of a weak argument.

    I mean come on produce the list...the gay community has NUMEROUS websites just for this activity...

    Gay men whether closeted or out and proud need to keep their mouths and asses out of public places walking around at all hours of the day looking for sex...

    Police have a job to do and public sex is against the law...

    Is it a judgement: yep and it is a good one...

    Last thought: I hope he had a damn good insurance policy so the people who he left behind because of his cowardly behavior can live a decent life.

    Posted by: True Words | Jul 21, 2010 11:52:42 AM

  6. Wow - a lot of moralizing here about public sex. Uh, yeah, it's illegal....but so is talking on your cellphone while driving, and speeding, and littering.

    (1) Yup, police resources might be better spent somewhere else.
    (2) "Self-defense" is the weakest and oldest excuse in the book.
    (3) This death was a tragedy.
    (4) Blaming the victim seems a cheap rationalization.
    (5) Racism is not out of the equation either.
    (6) The cop's story is suspect on a whole lot of levels.

    It's too bad that being gay is so stigmatized that men like this have to keep living on the DL.

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 21, 2010 11:58:36 AM

  7. I am a gay out male and I enjoy cruising in the park. Public sex is very much a part of being gay. NO ONE deserves to die by the hand of a cop for getting a blow job. You judgmental Puritan Gays need to have more sex, you are sounding just like the fundamentalists that are ruining this country.

    Posted by: Clanky Mish | Jul 21, 2010 12:16:05 PM

  8. I read some of these comments and I am shocked. The anti-sex trolls just really shock me. Do you think all those who have gone before us fighting for our equal rughts did it just so we could "say" we are gay???

    You mindless puritans who rail against public sex are probably out in the woods right now. It is pathological how strongly you are against it when compared to other similar offenses with similar legal punishments, cellphone use while driving, speeding, etc.

    In this day and age, and especially in Newark, the fact that a cop was out preventing men from getting off instead of preventing more dangerous behavior like speeding through densely populated neighborhood, shows just how homophobic they are.

    I have to ask myself again and again, why the stings? What not a simple foot patrol in uniform?

    Posted by: Willi | Jul 21, 2010 1:01:50 PM

  9. I was in central park last week, at night, cruising. I had sex, no one was murdered. I've met out gay men there, who I continue to see on a sexual and non-sexual basis. Met str8 guys, too. If I was a cop on the beat in the gay park at nite, I wouldn't shoot to kill, there is another collar right around the corner. It was dark it was night the cop had no right to put out that light. I was in the park eating lunch one day by a playground. I watched as a teenage couple engaged in sex on the swing. Sure, it looked kinda like she was sitting on his lap, except for the bucking he was doing as he fucked her. I don't remember any guns going off, except for the one in his pants. They felt no threat from the law or passersby, or kids using the playground. They felt safe.
    Double standard. Double standard. Sure, it's easy to say it's against the law, etc., but that doesn't mean someone deserved to die. Remember Stonewall? Drag queens broke the law and freed us all! It was illegal for gays to co-mingle in a bar. I'm not arguing for a sex zone in the park, but it's hurtful to gay men everywhere when stuff like this happens. What manner of gay sensitivity training does the police department give it's officers?
    Needs to be some serious teaching going on there. It's pretty much "go get the fuggin fags" str8 guy tough talk. De-humanizing the victim. Portraying them falsely. Who ever threatens to kill a cop after the cop identifies himself? The poor guy was probably trying to run away into the trees. I'd be interested to know where the bullet entered his body, what forensics has to say about this crime. Sad, sad, sad. He didn;t deserve this. We didn't deserve this. It hurts us all.

    Posted by: kodiak | Jul 21, 2010 1:03:55 PM

  10. @ Kodiak....interesting you bring up Stonewall....cause if I remember correctly the bar was ILLEGALLY serving alcohol without a license at the time of the raid.

    So I guess the police had legal cause for the raid. Yet I still view those patrons as heros.
    I'm not saying it's the same thing.
    But 6pm is still light and where was his partner.
    The article says the officer was not questioned until Monday night. A man was killed on Friday night! He was being treated for trama...HUH.

    I just think the loss of life needs to be reflected upon.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Jul 21, 2010 1:15:01 PM

  11. This is why cops need mounted cameras. Anyone with that much power and control over others shouldn't (And shouldn't have to) be trusted.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jul 21, 2010 1:21:16 PM

  12. You do realize that we only have 1 side of the story. The other person is dead. Regardless of the illegal act it doesn't warrant shooting to kill.

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Jul 21, 2010 1:29:09 PM

  13. Blaming the victim? The idiot tried to disarm an officer because he didn't want to be arrested and it come out that he liked men. He died because he was ashamed and panicked. The police response was rational.

    What was the officer supposed to do? Wait and hope that if Gaymon did manage to steal his gun, he wouldn't shoot? Give me a break. He's dead because of his own actions and his own choices.

    Posted by: John John | Jul 21, 2010 1:33:55 PM

  14. "Begs the question" is a common phrase used by the fourth estate to mean something like implies an open or closed question (unresolved/resolved querry). The latter is a rhetorical device, whereas the former seems to be a sincere interest in resolving a dispute.

    What it actually means is to assume the truth of a proposition without arguing for it...or, in an argument, the conclusion contained as a premise (e.g., circular reasoning).

    Now, as to the question of whether or not armed police officers should be sent to deal with public sex, that's not as cut and dry as one would imagine. Is it possible that a random trick in a park could be carrying a gun, and wouldn't hesitate to use it on undercover police if confronted and arrested? It's possible. So by mandating that they are unarmed, you take away a line of defense available to a police officer. However, muggers and other criminals that are usually armed are found in public parks, too. This has to be weighed against tragic outcomes such as this. If this man did have a gun, and threatened to use it on the cop (I'm sure he was desperate at that point), would he have to protect his secret? I'm unsure of whether that question has an answer. But were he to have a gun, the potential would have been real, and this officer could have lost his life instead. Is that potential sufficient to warrant arming undercover police officers during sex stings where there is a likelihood of using deadly force? I think so, given the likelihood of deadly force (which isn't zero). But even if the potential were near zero, the worst case cost is great (death or injury). So to defeat the reasoning above, you need to demonstrate that given the potential cost (death or injury), officers nonetheless shouldn't be allowed to carry guns even if the potential for that cost were low (which I'm not saying it is).

    Which brings us back to whether or not sex in public space should be legal or illegal. If public space is for the public, and not just a select group, then people need to modify their behaviors in accordance with public expectation. How does one do that? Well, they usually strike a compromise that all parties are satisfied with, or at least not harmed by. Forgoing sex in public does not harm anyone's expectations (excluding the expectation to have sex in public); whereas sex in public disappoints some expectations by foreclosing on enjoyment of public space. So the question becomes: does forgoing sex in public foreclose on the enjoyment of public space by some? Possibly, but should that neutralize objections to the practice? No, because it's not possible to enjoy public space without being in public space, whereas it is possible to enjoy sex without being in public space. Or accomodationism...setting aside a part of public space for sex in public.

    Another problem is inconsistent enforcement and harsher penalization targeting MSM, which is discrimination. This needs to be addressed separately, and shouldn't be conflated with the previous two issues.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 21, 2010 1:53:39 PM

  15. While this death is tragic, the true elephant in the room is this: what was the motivation behind the "tip" that served as the catalyst? What other illegal activities does this "tipster" report? Traffic crimes? Infractions by their family or friends? Most of us are witness to some sort of illegal activity on a daily basis, including the "tipster". I believe all "tipsters" should be registered - let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I would label this as stone throwing by a coward that resulted in the death of another human being.....sad...sad...

    Posted by: TheRealist | Jul 21, 2010 1:59:58 PM

  16. "Call of The Wild" anyone? LOL!

    Posted by: SSCHIEFRSHA | Jul 21, 2010 2:07:55 PM

  17. Some of you people are ridiculous. I'm sure the cop was out there to hunt humans - you know how those young cops are. Get a life people.
    Not cruising for sex in park = not in a place to get caught.
    Not charging the cop when you are scared of getting arrested = way to get shot.
    The sex act he talks about was probably masturbation - he was masturbating as he walked towards the cop.

    Posted by: Shane | Jul 21, 2010 2:11:22 PM

  18. @Z - who is it that you're hoping will come forward as a witness; one of the other married men with kids who was there having sex with men in the bushes?

    And to those who say that "what we've been fighting for all these years" is the right to have sex in public parks, I say WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Regardless of what my feelings are or aren't about sex in public parks I'm damned well sure that that isn't what we've been fighting for. I'm pretty sure that we've been fighting for a world where people who have sex in parks do it because they like the thrill of public sex and not because it's their only sexual outlet in a rabidly homophobic world that pushes them into sham marriages.

    Which brings me to another comment. No! Having sex in public parks is most certainly not part of being gay. It's part of being a voyeur for some or an exhibitionist for others or for the thrill of possibility getting caught for others or just a fun thing to do for others or, and I think most often, it's a desperate option for expressing one's repressed and hidden sexuality for others.

    It has nothing to do with being gay. The only reason gay and closeted men do it more and straight people (for the most part) and lesbians don't is because gay men generally more sexually adventurous, more used to hiding their sexuality in general and less inhibited by sexual taboos (for obvious reasons). Also, straight people have less reason to feel that they need to hide their sexual activity, unless they're having an affair. But they get a motel room, mainly because the women demand it because the vast majority of women would never consider degrading herself, or allowing herself to be degraded by being used like a disposable piece of trash in the woods.

    Posted by: Parker | Jul 21, 2010 2:47:11 PM

  19. Answer for those who think we're being puritans:

    Cruise for sex all you want, and when you find someone who's willing, GO GET A CHEAP HOTEL ROOM, like the rest of humanity does when they want sex on the DL. Have all the great, anonymous gay sex you want, just don't do it in a public park, geniuses.

    When are men going to learn that sex in public is a very stupid thing to do and can have dire consequences? Sure it's sad he's dead, but he went down a road he shouldn't have by having sex in public.

    Ask yourself: If he'd have found a partner and gone to a hotel, would he still be alive today? More than likely, YES.

    I'm amazed at how many people still think this behavior is good for our community. The 70s are over, folks.

    Posted by: johnny | Jul 21, 2010 2:55:51 PM

  20. Wow, you people must watch a lot of those crazy cable "news" shows where everyone just screams at each other. So much discussion that has nothing to do with the facts -- of which there are very few. Half of you say the guy deserved what he got, and the other half say the cop is a murderer. Consider:

    We have no idea why the dead guy was in the park. We can assume, and/or we can take the cop's story at face value. But unless witnesses come forward, the only person who could corroborate is dead.

    At this point, nothing the cop says can be taken as fact. Yet many of you are passing all kinds of judgment on both parties based on what he has told authorities so far.

    To those who say the dead guy (note I'm not calling him a "victim") got what he deserved -- again, you don't know that because you have no idea why he was there or what actually happened. All you have is the cop's story.

    To those of you who say the cop is a murderer -- again, based on what? And by the way -- if a cop can carry a gun as they patrol my local streets in broad daylight, they damn well should carry one when they're in a park in the evening, especially when patrolling a place where criminal activity is known to take place.

    To those of you questioning the "relative legality" of public sex vs. driving while on the phone, or stealing, or killing someone... illegal is illegal. Whether or not this officer should have instead been patrolling the streets or arresting drug dealers or helping a little old lady across the street is not the issue.

    If I cross the street against the light and get hit by a bus and die, did I "deserve" what I got? Death seems a pretty harsh penalty for jaywalking. That said, I made a poor decision. Is it anyone's fault other than my own that I'm dead? No. Did I "deserve" to die for that little decision? I don't think that's really the point. I just made a bad decision, and there was a consequence. Period.

    This was particularly hilarious: "I am a gay out male and I enjoy cruising in the park. Public sex is very much a part of being gay." Is it? Because I'm as gay as a maypole and I find the idea of public sex appalling. Seems like an incredibly self-centered worldview to think that we should be permitted to have sex wherever we feel like it. Does that include the middle of the grocery store, or perhaps in the stands at the baseball game? If you want to cruise the park, fine. Find your trick and take him somewhere private to do your thing. Let's ask some of the out gay parents who read this blog: Do you want your kids stumbling across live sex scenes (or used condoms or drug paraphernalia or whatever) in the park? Is sex an appropriate use of a public accommodation? Should it just be an accepted practice? Maybe you gay parents are just Puritanical hypocrites.

    On a different note, I will agree with at least one previous poster that the original Towleroad post on this story reflects what is, IMO, a marked trend on this blog toward breathless, ranty, screechy tabloid-style coverage. I used to view Towleroad as a good source for high-quality, reasonably objective information and discussion. Lately it reads a lot more like those cable "news" shows: SCANDAL! INTRIGUE! NAKED CELEBRITIES! I personally spend less time on the blog as a result. I hope the strategy (if it is indeed a strategy) is working for Andy. It's not working for me.

    Posted by: Dave | Jul 21, 2010 2:57:55 PM

  21. he wasnt shot bc he was trolling for sex, he was shot bc he was resisting arrest (and apparently) using physical force to the point where the cop thought he was a major threat.

    if you do the same thing when you get pulled over (ie saying youre gonna kill the officer and appearing as a threat), you might got shot too! it has NOTHING to do with the gay cruising

    Posted by: JJ | Jul 21, 2010 3:26:46 PM

  22. Wow. He's on a billboard near my work.

    Also, he's dead because he went trolling for sex in public, propositioned an officer and most importantly, resisted arrest.

    If he didn't want to get into trouble he shouldn't have broken the law. If he didn't want to get shot, he should have complied.

    Most people don't want public sex going on in their neighborhoods and parks. No one should cry about the police enforcing the law. This guy knew the risks and he went ahead with his decision.

    Also.... "Gaymon." Coincidence?

    Posted by: Dusty | Jul 21, 2010 3:29:51 PM

  23. "Public sex is very much a part of being gay."


    Posted by: Dusty | Jul 21, 2010 3:33:03 PM

  24. When did towerload become a GoProud affiliate? Everyone I've talked to in the NJ area about this think the cop's story is out and out bullshit. How many other times does it take a person 3 days to get a story straight? Secondly, even IF said murdered person was masterbating, or soliciting sex I'm dismayed at how quickly any of you can justify him being shot to death for it. Sure, public sex is icky and gay people doing it in public is somehow more awful than heterosexual couples going to Inspiration Point...but come off it. This is a case where we have a dead man, and a flimsy story from the person holding the gun is the only information we have. Too convenient. Welcome to the police state.

    Posted by: g_whiz | Jul 21, 2010 3:42:03 PM

  25. All this guy wanted was a little BJ action in the park and he got SHOT TO DEATH FOR IT, YOU CUNTY QUEENS!!!!!

    Better hope your local law enforcement doesn't decide that obese, pimply faggots that spend their whole lives in their mom's basement on the computer anxiously awaiting the next Sean Cody update deserve to die, too. You'll all be in trouble.

    Posted by: Please | Jul 21, 2010 3:57:37 PM

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