Suit settled after shooting death of Atlanta man in New Jersey

Four years after an undercover officer shot and killed an unarmed Georgia man in a Newark, N.J., park, the family of Defarra “Dean” Gaymon has resolved its lawsuit against Essex County.

Defarra “Dean” Gaymon, the head of the Atlanta City Employees Credit Union, was in New Jersey in 2010 for his 30th high school reunion when he was shot by a detective investigating reports of public sex in Branch Brook Park in Newark.

Officer Edward Esposito said he had returned to a wooded area in the park to retrieve handcuffs he dropped earlier and that was when Gaymon approached. Esposito said Gaymon was “engaged in a sexual act” as he approached the officer.

According to Esposito’s account, Gaymon ran when the officer tried to arrest him, threatening to kill the officer. Esposito said he shot Gaymon only when the chase ended at a pond and Gaymon reached into his pocket and lunged in his direction.

Gaymon's family called the 48-year-old man's death a murder but a New Jersey grand jury declined to indict Esposito.

Gaymon’s wife, Mellanie, and their four children filed the suit that was settled last week for $1.5 million, out of which legal costs costs and about $730,000 for attorneys’ fees will be paid.