A New Jersey grand jury will not charge a sheriff's officer in the 2010 fatal shooting of an Atlanta city credit union executive, authorities said Tuesday.
Defarra “Dean” Gaymon, the president and chief executive officer the Credit Union of Atlanta, was in Newark for his 30th high school reunion last July when he was shot by Essex County Sheriff's Detective Edward Esposito, who was working undercover in a city park.
Esposito was dispatched to Branch Brook Park to follow up on a report of people engaged in sex acts. The detective said he'd made an arrest and had taken a suspect to his patrol car, but he had to go back to retrieve handcuffs he'd dropped.
That was when he saw Gaymon, a 48-year-old Suwanee father of four, allegedly engaged in a public sex act. The officer reported that Gaymon appeared to panic and then fought him when he tried to arrest Gaymon. That is when Esposito shot the executive, who died several hours later at a hospital.
At the time of the shooting Gaymon's sister, Kelly Gaymon Armstrong, said she found it unbelievable her brother would fight an officer.
"There's nothing threatening about his character," she said. "It doesn't add up."
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday, however, that the grand jury did not find enough evidence to charge Esposito.
"The 23 grand jurors had the option of initiating charges against Officer Esposito with regards to the death of Mr. Gaymon. Under New Jersey law, a police officer is permitted to use deadly force if he or she has a reasonable belief his life is threatened. The grand jury declined to bring any charges against the officer," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said in a statement obtained by The Star-Ledger.
Last year, the New Jersey attorney general declined to investigate the shooting.
Gaymon was the fifth person to be shot by a Newark law enforcement officer in a month at the time of the shooting. He was the ninth police-involved shooting victim since the first of the year; six of those people, including Gaymon, died.
Staff writer Rhonda Cook contributed to this report
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