Police kill Atlanta man in cruisey N.J. park

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imageAn unarmed married Atlanta CEO was shot and killed in a New Jersey park known for gay cruising after an officer says he struggled with the man and feared for his life.

DeFarra Gaymon was in Newark for a high school reunion on July 16 when he allegedly approached an undercover officer while masturbating in Branch Brook Park in Newark. The 29-year-old officer identified himself as a police officer, displayed his badge and tried to arrest Gaymon (photo).

The 48-year-old Gaymon is the president and CEO of Credit Union of Atlanta. He lived with his wife and four children in Suwanee, a suburb north of Atlanta.

The account from prosecutors about what took place on Friday is chilling:

“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.

Gaymon’s family has criticized the explanation by prosecutors of what took place. They called for a federal investigation into the shooting, which is the fifth police-involved shooting in Essex County in a month.

“Essex County has wrongfully taken Dean Gaymon’s life and with him not being here to present his side of the story, they are now attempting to defame him in death and to kill his name and reputation in addition to his body. Our family will not stand by and allow this to occur,” his family said in a statement.

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