A small article last week in the Trenton, New Jersey, Star-Ledger said that Essex County is looking to create an LGBT advisory board for the police. The article doesn't mention why now, although people in the community might realize that it's because the police there killed a man in a gay cruising area for no apparent reason and then avoided justice with the help of a biased prosecutor's office.
The Gay City News did an investigation into gay sex stings in the area where Dean Gaymon was killed earlier this year, and it turns out the elements that I found suspicious in the police report (Gaymon was the aggressor, he hit on the police officer without him doing anything at all, and that he became violent for no apparent reason) are quite common in that area. According to their investigation, there are hundreds of cases like that in the area, where the police do nothing to provoke men who just throw themselves at officers:
After a conviction in the Palisades case, an appellate court reversed the decision, writing that the "Defendant presented a persuasive attack on Rossi's credibility, raising serious doubts about whether it was believable that a police officer could have had almost a hundred men approach him, pull out their genitals and start masturbating without any enticement by the officer at all."
And it happened in Essex County:
The Essex County Sheriff's Office appears to have a similar problem. Officers may be urging men in cruising spots to expose themselves or touch the officers and arresting them when they do so. That trick may explain why Gaymon fought with Esposito, assuming that part of the detective's story is true.
The gay man Rossi arrested testified that he told the police officer, "You entrapped me, you entrapped me" when the detective displayed his badge. While he did not resist, his anger was palpable during the trial and when discussing the case with Gay City News.
Edel Gambe, another gay man arrested by Rossi in 2004, told Gay City News in 2005 that he initially thought Rossi and his partner, Wayne Zelna, were police, but then doubted that as they became more forceful. Gambe tried to protect himself.
"I thought they might be trying to gay-bash me," Gambe said. "They started punching and kicking... I started screaming for help right away."
Gambe was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, two counts of resisting arrest, lewdness, and attempted escape. He pleaded guilty to lewdness and resisting arrest, and received a lighter sentence than most of the men arrested in that park.
"When you're innocent, it's not a good deal," said Gambe, who remained very angry about the case months after it ended. "I got this better deal because I'm innocent, and the prosecutor knows that."
"Attempted escape." That's a good one. Unless he got violent towards the police officers after they clearly identified themselves and explained that he was under arrest, how can that happen?
It's not just that part of the country that has a problem with police harassing gay people, it's just the one part of the country (that we know about) where that harassment turned deadly this past year.