Alex Blaze

State will not investigate police shooting of man in cruising area

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 30, 2010 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: essex county, murder, New Jersey, police, prosecutor

Last week I posted on the fatal police shooting of Dean Gaymon and said that the orgs working dean-gaymon.jpgon that were asking for a federal investigation. Shortly after Bill Dobbs emailed to correct me - they were asking for the New Jersey attorney general to investigate.

Well, the state attorney general said no:

After meeting with her top officials today afternoon, Dow concluded there was "no indication of a conflict with the Essex County Prosecutor's Office handling this case fairly and impartially," said her spokesman, Paul Loriquet. "That was never called into question."

Afterward, the attorney general called the Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino to discuss the decision. The prosecutor's office will present its investigation to a grand jury, which will take several weeks.

Considering the county prosecutor was already acting like the police department's defense attorney last week when the shooting happened, hiding the name of the officer (which was later leaked) and accepted the officer's incredibly suspicious version of the facts before an investigation was conducted, I really doubt that they'll handle the case "impartially." Consider the prosecutor talking to the press:

"The plainclothes officer was bending down to retrieve his handcuffs," [Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert] 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. [emph. mine]

Is that the language of someone who's "impartial," willing to conduct a thorough investigation and present the results to a grand jury hoping that they'll give the green light to prosecute the officer if that's what's warranted?

Last week I said that the officer was sly in saying that he feared for his life when he killed Dean Gaymon, since that's, surprise surprise, what he'd need to be feeling to justify killing Gaymon. Considering the prosecutor's actions now, I'm not so sure. It was the prosecutor who used those specific words, and there's no reason to believe that the cop came up with that himself. Was the prosecutor, the day this shooting happened, already trying to sell the public on "self-defense"?

The story was already suspicious for several reasons. First, there was the fact that the police officer said he returned to where he made a cruising arrest several minutes later, alone, to retrieve his handcuffs that he had apparently not used in the arrest. Dean Gaymon was there "engaged in a sex act" in this same place the cops just busted and made arrests (no one shouted "run"? What kind of cruisers are these?). Then he said that Gaymon walked over to him while "engaged in a sex act" and propositioned him, then that Gaymon ran when he saw it was an officer and he chased after him (for a misdemeanor). Then he said that he couldn't handcuff the CEO, and that the super-villain Gaymon tried to disarm him, lunge at him, and reach into his pocket at the same time (how many arms did he have again?) and so the officer just had to kill him.

That could all be true, and maybe it's generally factual and a few details got mixed around in the heat of the moment. But it should be enough to make an "impartial" prosecutor suspicious (if anyone else killed an unarmed man a prosecutor would be at least suspicious) and not automatically accept and relate to the press the police officer's version of the events, instead of using the exact terms needed to get the officer off the hook. That's what a defense attorney does, not a prosecutor.

So there's going to be a cover-up here. The prosecutor and the police officer may have known each other already, and if they didn't the prosecutor probably golfs with the cop's boss. No one wants to be the narc here sending a decent man to prison, especially when they think it was just a faggot who got killed. Too bad the state didn't investigate, because now no one's going to be satisfied with the process.


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I have personally seen cases of police brutality, and read legal accounts of many, many more as a professor of law and society. Never once have I seen a fair and impartial handling of the case, unless they're caught red-handed on video. The prosecutor and the police have one idea of fair and impartial when it comes to investigating others, and a very different idea of fair and impartial when it comes to investigating themselves. He feared for his life from an unarmed man who he was chasing down? Not bloody likely, but that's their story and they're sticking to it, no matter how unrealistic. It'll take a lawsuit and several years, and then there will be an undisclosed settlement that no one will hear much about.

New Jersey is a Police State! The police will make sure that in thier reports that you have put up a fight You resisted arrest. They have identified themselves as police! That they had to burst into your house beacuse because they saw a Gun (even if it was totally apart and being cleaned.) I wish I had it on film because they did that and lied in thier reports when they came to arrest my son!( he was found not guilty on all of the orignal charges but had to pleade the resist to public disturbance because of the police lies! My SO and I have also been stopped four times in one town for bogus reasons "Your headlights were on highbeam! That is why I stoped you!" My responce was to show him what high beams looked like in my car! (Yes, my low beams are extreamly bright most new forgin cars have very bright low & high beams) Each time we have been let go! I now do not trust the police very much at all! New Jersey is a police State! Just reading the Daynon report says that the police officer put down exactly what would have allowed him to use deadly force! I am suprised that there was no one else in the area that has come forward to disputed the Officers statement! Especially since they were arresting so many people for the same thing? Wonder if anyone in the area might be intemidated?, in Newark, New Jersey? nope, no intimadation there! Bul@S$#t (Say it with a sneeze!)

Tony Soprano | July 31, 2010 5:15 AM

In New Jersey, anything that is not specifically legal is illegal. Gay man asking another gay man for a date? Illegal. Gay marriage? Illegal. HETEROSEXUAL marriage? Legal. And on, and on. No wonder why so many good people are leaving the state. Just cross the river and you're in Free(r) America.

Although commenters may want to blame the state of New Jersey for this miscarriage of justice, I assure you that things like this happen in virtually every state of the Union.

Cruising may be legal, but we cannot be oblivious to the fact that it evokes the contempt of the surrounding community --- unless it is a very liberal or an LGBT neighborhood. Therefore, we (LGBT people) do not have the political support to demand that crap like this come to an end.

That is why I am uncomfortable when I see bloggers defending and even promoting public cruising and public sex --- whether the activity in question is legal or not, it is still civilly dangerous and if something goes wrong you can be without recourse.

It is tragic that Mr. Gaymon was killed, he did not deserve to be killed, and I do not wish to blame the victim; yet IMHO, if he had visited a bar or a bathhouse instead of cruised a public park, he would probably still be alive. Those other venues have dangers of their own, but in today's world homophobic killer cops are less likely to be one of them.

@A.J., Thank Gawd you were not the judge who heard the case against Prop 8 in California.

What you are saying is that if something is legal & you have a constitutional right to do whatever it is, you should suffer the contempt of the community because the majority do not "like" it. I guess we know where you stand on the proposed construction of the Muslim Center in lower Manhattan.

You do not wish to blame the victim, but you go on to blame the victim???