It Didn't Have to End That Way

July 21, 2010

By now we're sure many of you have heard of the incident in New Jersey where a man was shot and killed for cruising an undercover police officer.

Originally Posted via the Advocate :

CEO Killed at Gay Cruising Spot

Credit Union of Atlanta CEO DeFarra Gaymon was shot and killed by a police officer in Newark, New Jersey last week after allegedly propositioning the officer at a gay cruising area.

Gaymon stopped by the Branch Brook Park area while en route to his 30th high school reunion. The neighborhood is known for attracting sexual activity and male prostitutes, according to a report in The New York Times.

According to Essex County prosecutor Robert D. Laurino, the 29-year-old officer, whose name hasn’t been released, claims he fired in self-defense. He says when he attempted to arrest Gaymon for lewd behavior, he ran and, when cornered, tried to disarm the officer.

The officer shot Gaymon once. He died three hours later at nearby University Hospital.

Gaymon was married and the father of four children

=============

Now, we were not there so we don't know what exactly happened. Is the cop a sadistic homophobe? Did Mr. Gaymon's life flash before his eyes as the cop identified himself and he went into totally freak-out/panic mode?

Whatever happened, it's sad it had to go this far. A life was lost and and so many people will suffer the repercussions.

The closet can be such an evil place.

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Comments

I agree...the closet is such an evil place. I do empathize for the man's death. Even with more outlets for us to live more open lives, not everyone pursues the path of living as an openly, out-of-the-closet, gay person. And this is because society still chastizes us.

I know there are still many men and women that feel they must remain closeted from the world at large. I think it sad those men and women see a need to conduct their lives in such a maner. Exsistance is not a fullfilled life. I live openly in the southern US and have only injured rare comments over the years. 17 years ago I had a issue with a couple people at work and reported sexual harassment to HR. Not even close to my satifaction hr's response barly good but it did stop most of my problems. I left the company in good standing 2 years later and vowed to always be true to myself. I see many conflicted men in the city where I live with church/family/work/friends/gay issues. I take a stance if you don't want to be near a gay man walk away. Don't want to talk with one shut up. Want gays to die, look in the mirror and ask yourself why.
I am glad I became tough enough to be myself 100 precent of the time!
Robert Headley
Charlotte, NC

Its sad that someone has died-BUT-we do not have all the facts. What little information I have been able to find about the incident on the web is not enough to draw any definitive conclusions other than a married gay man with children has been shot by a cop. Its a shame that he felt he couldn't live his life openly and that it has lead to his tragic death however if its true that he fought with the officer who is armed and trained to shoot you in defense situations-then it is perhaps BOTH men who acted with questionable behavior.

I get a little disappointed reading about incidence such as these where the immediate mob reaction is that the cop in question is a homophobe(not that dissimilar to the recent BART police officer case where the issue was race). We are so quick to lash out at the police that we bypass the part where we ask BOTH parties for accountability. You can rationalize the dead man's behavior any way you want but he WAS married, had children, was at least somewhat professionally accomplished and was on his way to a scheduled event and...yet he chose to risk it all to try and get laid? Its about the choices we make-good, bad or otherwise. The cop didn't start his day with a donut and the desire to kill a closeted gay man-can we please get the story WITH ALL THE FACTS of the case FIRST before the strafing starts.

having lost a wonderful partner because I was his first boyfriend and he wasnt out to his family that he was so close to....I gotta say, it does matter.

Absolutely it does, the same happened to me recently....... not quite a year ago. If I get that involved with someone they will be out to everyone. Holidays apart are no fun as well. And then not being out they can lie to you about why they want to break up......then go and find someone almost exactly like you.....or at least very close. So much for love and promises. Thank you for your comment supreme11. It does help more than you know, helped me get so over the ex I no longer want him near as bad (read that AT ALL) as I thought I did. Thank you again.

One fact beyond doubt, is a mans life has been ended in circumstances which should never had been, what threat is a gay man who is cruising? Where was the officers judgement, is there a training program for officers in that situation? What is wrong is to suggest Homophobia, when there are no facts to support this, but, i also understand the homophobic element within Police/Military careers, and the most are those who were bullied and are now empowered by a uniform, and use it to bully others, does anyone psych test the men and women in high stress jobs?? Jobs like Police, i believe it is essential to test for complete suitability, otherwise you are giving a weapon to a insecure individual and look where that leads.

The Closet is an evil place, and everywhere outside it too. We are hated in this world, viewed as evil not worth living by some, even on DH, some will be in the closet for the sake of their needs, Career, Personal Perception, Fear, and Today in the US more will read what's happened and close the closet door, some will know what's it's like to be put down for who they are, i do, having worked in Construction, by guys who are the darkroom superstar in the local bath house on the weekend, hiding behind a wedding ring and children.

What faith should we have, when the society we are part of preaches this to successive generations? Hate brings forth Hate.

While not defending in any way the shooting (as noted, we don't know exactly what happened), you raise the question "What threat is a gay man who is cruising?"

It isn't the cruising itself that is the problem - many gay men and straight men (and women, I'm sure, too) "cruise" - for lack of a better word - everywhere. It may be more blatant in some areas than others, and flirting with someone in the office break room or over after-work drinks may seem more respectable than park cruising, but it's all a difference of degree rather than kind.

Where it becomes a "threat" (to use your word) is when people make that connection in a public place and proceed to act on that connection without moving to a private one. And that's where the difference between closeted gay men and the rest of the world comes into play: they're far less likely, I believe, to have a place to go. Especially if one or both men are married.

In a public place, where adults and kids freely mingle, sexual activity is inappropriate. And all too often what happens is that the cruising leads to an encounter in a nearby public restroom, in the bushes in the park, or wherever.

You are right on the money. Also, until all "closetted" people are called to "come out, come out wherever you are" with love and without consequences or shame--there will always be dangerous, dark corner meeting places.

this is such a sad situation!!!! I have been in this predicament (closeted , married , with children) & gay!! it is a very lonely place to be-believe me!!!!! Many times i would risk it all because i was desperate for m2m contact. even tho my family meant everthing to me!!! My heart goes out to his wife & children so many questions left unanswered!!! so many lives were destroyed that day!!! WHY!!!

Why was his firearm raised in the first place, don''t they give you guys Mace?? Firearm raised, why was he not a distance from the victim where he could not be disarmed? The officer in question determined the victim was a " Threat " to have a raised firearm in the first place.

Cruising happens, even if society was understanding and there was no need, it would still go on. And now we have a publicly negative view of the community and of the victim, created, by society and it's failures.

A life has been taken, WHY Indeed?

I wasn't there, but as a former cop, I'm so glad I never took another person's life. I had been in plenty of struggles. One time I used my pepper spray and I learned never to use that again when in a close contact struggle as the spray affected me and the guy beat me so bad I ended up in the hospital. Maybe, just maybe you think a cop a should just say I give up whenever anyone resists arrests. I mean many morons think cops should not chase a car when it flees from the police. these same people would scream bloody murder if the cops didn't chase a car that had a wanted rapist driving it. the job is hard enough without people who "think" they know the facts jump all over a bad situation with their Monday morning quarterbacking. I have never met a cop or soldier who was proud that they took another persons life. that only happens in the movies. And yes I'm biased as I have walked in those shoes.

I had an, in-many-ways, idyllic 30-year romance with my male partner. He was from a small Ohio town, son of a decent, but very redneck carpenter father. My partner fled the mid-west, educated himself (for 17 years of school) and built a highly productive, caring and rich life ~ both in his work and in our marriage. In year 28 of that marriage, he turned to me, with the strangest smile of self-recognition on his face and said, "You know what, I think I may really BE gay." He wasn't kidding ~ for you see, all the rejection, danger, unacceptability, etc. that he was raised with ~ was INSIDE HIM, and it only got safe even ~ with me ~ for him to "come out" TO HIMSELF after 28 years. Wow. I have come to see that "sneaky" self-internalized homophobia is very common. I am happy/sad that this happened for him before he died suddenly just, after our 30th anniversary. Happy that he got ever more joyful about this part of him, and sad that he had carried all that STUPID societal shame for so long. Anyway, food for thought for us all. I believe that homophobia is our Puritan culture's displaced HATRED of "the feminine." Nothing worse for this society than a MAN who "gives up" his macho privilege by being (even partly) "feminine." WE get a chunk of what most women get all the time in this society. Yuck.

Would an ex cop care to enlighten us? Your right, we don't know, and an objective view from a currently serving or ex law enforcement official will add to the debate and for some answer questions, I would not want the police not to chase a suspected felon, because who else will?

We need Police, that much is clear and without dispute.

Where are the cruisers who have been in a situation, to share their experiences? Openly gay or Married/Partnered?

I just don't understand the use of a gun! Even if this guy ran, we are talking about cruising! He did not rob an old lady and knock her down. He did not murder a young child. He did not beat up a man at a bar. He was simply looking for comfort, sexual, yes, but comfort. If a teenager shoplifts a bag of potato chips, do the cops shoot him as he runs away? I just don't understand!

Who is the dumb ass who wrote the intro to this story by loading their opinions and casting doubts on what actually happen. As a former police officer one things for sure everyone is a Monday morning quarterback with stupid comments like, did you have to shoot him?, why didn't you just shoot him in the arm or leg?, how pathetically stupid. You are taught to shoot and aim for the center of mass, this is not television or the movies for Christ sake, get real!

This officer didn't go out after this incident and have drinks with his friends and boast, hey!, I shot a fag!, as a matter of fact he probably in therapy because of this and now will live with this shooting for the rest of his life. I hope he will recover!

As far as this guy Gaymon, it's the tenth year of the twenty first century he get's absolutely no simpathy from me for living his lie!

Thank the gods you are an EX-cop.

who the hell are you to judge a dead man who cannot defend himself, you are a disgrace and thank god you are no longer a cop cause i sure would not feel safe knowing you are trying to protect us.
You cannot think that this poor man wanted to live the life he was living ?
You are a disgrace to the human race !
pathetic man!

I'm sorry but with Don't ask don't tell and DOMA on the statutes I can totally understand a man's closeted position. ONLY when we have complete equality and our laws reflect the 21st century can we condemn such behaviour. Which is more antiquated, the idea that marriage is a religious institution (it's not Christian anyway, it was a pagan institution hijacked along with Xmas and easter) for men and women and procreation (if so all those willingly childless couples need to hop to it) or the sorry man confined by the constraints of the society he lives in?

I'm sorry but with Don't ask don't tell and DOMA on the statutes I can totally understand a man's closeted position. ONLY when we have complete equality and our laws reflect the 21st century can we condemn such behaviour. Which is more antiquated, the idea that marriage is a religious institution (it's not Christian anyway, it was a pagan institution hijacked along with Xmas and easter) for men and women and procreation (if so all those willingly childless couples need to hop to it) or the sorry man confined by the constraints of the society he lives in?

Well let me be the devil's advocate. The reports I have heard are that the gentleman threatened the officer in some way. I have also heard he was 'caught in the act' so to speak and panicked and ran, then accosted the police officer. The reports do not indicate that the officer was a 'homophobe' out to kill an innocent man. He was an officer enforcing the public lewdness laws - which by the way apply to heterosexuals as well. We should not have such knee jerk reactions as in IT WAS HOMOPHOBIA AHHHHHH without getting all of the facts first.

Look at what happened with the Dept. of Agriculture employee just yesterday when people jumped to conclusions, wrongly.

Maybe the writer is a Hetrophobe?? We all know there are lots of those in the community. How long will it be before a headline case of crimes being committed by Homosexuals on Hetrosexuals, Tick Tock...........

I know a gay couple. Both of them are "down to earth" macho cops. No big deal as to the many things that make people horny whether gay or straight. Perhaps the cop got hard in his pants and could not deal with being turned on by the guy. Perhaps he will attend anger management classes now.

A helluva way to come out to your family and high school class.

I am proud of a lot of things in New Jersey and this one makes me want to cry and hang my head in shame.

Many straight men see being cruised by a gay man as a threat or attack on their masculinity. If this were a one-time thing, I could say it was an accident or mistake. But, the same scene is being repeated more and more often. It may be a personal choice but I avoid “cruising” areas. If you want to cruise guys go to a gay bar where chances are you’re not going to be shot for looking at another man.

To all of you,
As stated at the opening remarks, NONE OF US WERE THERE AND NONE OF US KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED AND I WILL ADD WHETHER YOU ARE A COP NOW OR RETIRED OR HAVE BEEN HARASSED BY COPS, YOU STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!!!!!!
The only thing we can be sure of is that 2 lives were lost in that shooting, one is dead and the other is walking dead. Gaymon's family will now have to deal with his death and the secret he kept all those years while the press hounds them. The officer and his family will have to deal with Gaymon's death, the officers nightmares of the shooting, the press and local fanatics hounding them day and night the potential loss of that officers job and sanity. Stop shooting each other here and mourn the losses and refocus all your negative energies to positive for those families, they all have a very long journey ahead of them.

So true. Everyone needs to learn from this tragedy, period. Thank you for the empathy to both sides.

Thank god ! here here !

What ever happen to Dragnet LOL to protect and serve! Okay I want to play the role of the devil’s advocate. This is definitely a training issue and many people are missing the point. In our puritanical society, homosexuality is viewed as being evil and vile. Cops who are assigned to work detail as a decoy in gay cruising areas need additional training, because of homophobia.

The cop was over zealous in his pursuit of Mr. Gaymon because he wanted to arrest him and humiliate him for being a fag! If this was a female i.e Jessica Simpson would she have ended up dead, I doubt it seriously. Why is this 29 year-old homophobe cop that close to Mr. Gaymom as to where his gun would discharged? Apparently the cop forgot rule #1, and I am not in law enforcement. Take control of the situation before making an arrest. If you cannot make the arrest, call for backup without harm coming to yourself (officer) or the suspect. This is a senseless loss of human life and should be viewed and treated as a hate crime.

For others who are electing to bash the deceased Mr. Gaymon you are missing the point a individual lose their life because he was nude in a public area. How sad!

As far as a puritanicial society most American do not view homosexuality as "evil and vile" but when gay men go around being stupid and having sex in public places I draw the line there as well! How in the hell do YOU know that the officer was over zealous?

As far as Gaymon he was a lier and a cheat to own family that the trouble with gay society we live in a double standard. We ask for marriage rights and I see even on this site gay married men who want to fuck the next strange piece, what pathetic hypocrites some are.

Play nice or go home "rickindc". We edited your post.

We value everyone's opinion but we WILL NOT allow personal attacks and derogatory comments. Participate in the debate without making it personal.

Hey!, is a site for free expression or is this Provda, I'm entitled to an opinion too!

Free expression does not mean attacking people personally. Again, you are welcome to debate but do not degrade anyone.

Where were you, Mister Moderator, when during the debate over your blog post "If it worked for Interracial Marriage" you allowed DH member "chickenmilk" to call me a "douchebag."? Re-read his responses to me.............perhaps you overlooked it. He certainly could've used your "play nice or go home" speech-

If there is ever a comment someone finds to be inappropriate, please feel free to point it out to us by emailing us at customer services and we will have no issue looking into the matter.

back in the mid 90's i used to live near that area. cops werent there much but i have heard from friends in the area still that the cops have stepped up and have gotten brazen (obviously, this story proves that point).
shame that in this day and age this kind of violence is still prevelant

In Canada, having sex in a park is perfectly legal as long as the parties have sought reasonable privacy. In 1650 Samuel Pepys, in his famous diary, recorded many sexual exploits in parks. Sex in parks has gone on for centuries and will continue forever.

The issue here is NOT: " being in the closet or out." The issue is the civil right of ALL persons to have the sex of their choice in appropriate place and time with consenting partners. The crime here is the fact of the POLICE PRESENCE. In civilized countries gay bating is a crime in and of itself. Further, in the day and age of the tazer gun, why on earth would the cop use a regular gun? Yea, why was the cop armed at all?

Consider for a moment that IF guns were illegal in the USA as indeed they are in Canada and most of europe and the orient, this needless death and thousands of others would never have happened.

Jim Kirk

There are several possible issues here. There are really so many to look at this. It all comes down to poor decisions made.

Well it now comes down to sensorship that this site is now showing, my comments about this incident were just erased by BIG BROTHER!

As we already mentioned above, your comments were edited as you felt the need to use derogatory terms and make it personal. If you can't debate without putting other commenters down to make your point, then your posts will be edited if not deleted.

You would do a service to the gay community if you told us how to respond en masse what we can do, otherwise this, and you, are only exploitative.

I'd like to make several points here: One, I will reserve judgment on the particulars of this case until I am presented with more tangible evidence. Second: these "sex stings" in parks and wooded areas are entrapment, pure and simple. How is it "public lewdness" if you are in an isolated and obscured part of the woods or a local park? Third, yes public lewdness applies to both hetero and homosexual parties, but isn't it interesting that these "stings" involve gay sex. I know and have heard of similar stories of straight couples getting it on in parks, beaches, rest stops, museums, libraries, the supermarket, the department store, hell - even in the parking lot of a police station! Yet, there's never a sting going on when they're getting it on. This is a thinly veiled act of harassment and is inherently homophobic, whether intentional or not. Fourth: the man was either bisexual or living a lie, and knew that if he was caught having "queer sex" in a sting operation, his name would be in the papers and his family disgraced. I have a good friend who was propositioned by an undercover cop at a rest area, and at his subsequent arraignment, the judge admonished the officer for his "enticement behavior", and told him he had better not bring any similar cases before her bench again. And yet, now my entrapped buddy is a registered sex offender in Massachusetts, and is barred from legally entering Canada's borders. These stings are morally repugnant, and need to stop. And folks who need this sexual outlet need to get counseling to address any issues of repressed sexuality and denial they are obviously grappling with.

if someone unwantingly propositions you for sex, it is sexual assault. if the police officer had been a woman and the deceased was a straight male, the tone of this conversation i believe would be very different.

cruising is an illegal activity and no matter how one buries himself in the closet, there is little justification for illegal activity. i imagine encompassing one in family (heterosexual fatherhood), heterosexual marriage and the like sets up extra obstacles to even attempting to live a free and open life if indeed this deceased man was gay and not bisexual.

either way this is a sad story when one can not raise their self esteem and attempt to live a free open life regardless of what society you think you live in. do you think being gay and open comes without personal struggle. it does and that is what general human life entails with whatever you identify as. personal freedom is a life worth having and making real attempts at it can be trying but it should be done at all costs no matter what.

llss 1 is right, from this we need a way forward, we as in the community, even if action means a Focus Group, do it!!! There are circumstances when Policing the gay community, NO, we are not asking for special consideration because of who we are, chocolateboi mentioned in his comment, special training should be given to Law enforcement who deal with Gay issues, we have Liaison officers who are gay and have a presence within the bar and club culture, and flyers with their faces in the bars and clubs, do such positions exist in North America? They do here in Glasgow, Scotland.

As for within the community, i urge the Daddyhunt community, you guys, to find something to take to the police, a good start is getting them to listen to you, from there, who knows?

One thing i do not want to see from all this is another stick for the moral majority to beat the Gay community with, so as a suggestion, why don't we start educating each other, and clean up our own mess?

I read through all the comments and not a single one had the decency to even mention the man's wife and four children. Exiting the "evil closet" seems to be the main theme and goal for some. That man's first, chief and paramount duty was to his family, not making some point for the gay "cause." He had no duty to exit that proverbial closet. His duty was to his wife and children. What a tragedy for him and his family. Far too many gays seem to think that expressing your gay or bisexual sexuality openly and freely is more important than a man's vows and responsibilities. No thought given to what heartbreak that would have meant for them.

what kind of danger would a man who cruising in the park for a cop???
it was a undercover cop but I believe that cops are curious about sex with a man
ansd specialy a man who are married and cruising......if you know waht happen in the prison than you know the cops are not the straight guy's who we think they are
also if they arrestet a guy they do things you don't like to know.
self defence.....I don't believe that.......that's always the reason cops give but maybe he had an other reason for shooting this guy.....if being gay was more open in the US than it was not nesessery that cops go to a cruising area.....

Why on earth does America still think that the gun is a fundamental extension of your arm? Crime in countries where the police are not armed with guns (but with mace, tazers etc) is not higher, or more violent, yet Americans cling on to the right to bear arms as if it's a god given right. The policeman has killed an unarmed civilian without due cause (trying to escape is a panic reaction - wouldn't you with his family life behind him but he wasn't attacking the officer, had no weapon and didn't deserve to die because a cop's masculinity was threatened!) and should be tried for at least manslaughter so that he can at least publicly explain and justify his actions. Finally, why does everyone ignore the fact that the cop was on an entrapment mission? Pretend to be gay to catch a gay man who for a moment finds you attractive and then ruin or take his life as a result? Come on America, grow up, this is morally reprehensible on all counts.

What a sad story to add to the annals of our oppression.
One thing always amazes me. Every minority group has its own specific hell to deal with, but gay folks are the only ones that I know of where the central drama is the question of whether or not they are they a MEMBER of that minority group. That's what coming out is. Black people don't need to reveal that they're black; Jews (except for times when they've had to go into hiding) don't make a secret of the fact that they're Jewish -- or if they need to in order to escape persecution, it's certainly not a secret from their families. If you look at any article in The Advocate, the crux of it is almost always: Is someone openly gay or not. It's truly bizarre, when you think about it.

different point of view...different countries,different laws...

it is a serious crime here to pretend to be someone you are not!
(in case of this cop..up to 10 yrs prison without touching the gun,just for beeing "undercover"
and not showing up as a policeman !)
carrying a gun without marked as policeman or showing up in uniform would be a further 5 yrs...

it is an unthinkable thing that a police officer here could "trick" people into doing a crime or forbodden things.it is strictly against the law here to pretend commiting a crime to get a catch!

maybe it is time to convince your government that such laws should be changed immedeately !
rules lke this have nothing to do with freedom,democracy or the style of a western civilized country....

my feelings are with this poor guy who got shot,and his friends and family!

if this guy had a reason "not to tell and live in the closet" and go to a cruising area..who should blame him for this ?

shame on the cops and the law that made situation like this possible !

i do not prefer cruising and outdoorsex,but it is quite good to know that i live in a country where i might
go and have sex or whatever in a park and don`t get shot by a criminal cop !!!

please excuse my english,i am not a native speaker...

The cop may have not been able to deal with his inner desires and feeling guilty based on cultural upbringing. Striking out at the temptation may have been a sign of mental instability that can be the result of cultural traditions that haven't shifted in 5000 years. Perhaps the caveman was more free to be himself before the age of propaganda came into being complete with verbal spankings from self appointed high places.