Saying they need to "make some changes," Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said yesterday that he would be suspending an undercover patrol designed to catch men engaged in sexual activity in Newark's Branch Brook Park. He made the move after Credit Union of Atlanta CEO Defarra 'Dean' Gaymon was discovered masturbating in the park, and fatally shot during an altercation with a cop two weeks ago.

The undercover cop, Edward Esposito, claimed Gaymon attempted to solicit sex from the officer, and then lunged at him when he attempted to produce his badge. Esposito has been suspended, but no charges have been filed yet. Gaymon's family previously said, "We know that the police killed an innocent man, with no history of or disposition towards violence." The five year undercover operation stemmed from numerous complains from locals about the park being used as a pickup spot for gay men.

The program had already seen its fair share of controversy, with gay rights advocacy group Garden State Equality saying that "targeting gay men or LGBT people specifically, or anyone perceived as such, is unconscionable—and as we strongly believe, illegal." And Joel Caplan, a Rutgers Law School professor, said, "If a bunch of young kids are playing loud music at night, police aren’t targeting the juveniles, they’re targeting the activity. But it also raises the question, why (is the sheriff) choosing to enforce that and not something else?" But the publicity surrounding Gaymon's death has shed new light on the operation.

Fontoura said he will be meeting with gay rights activists in an attempt to "come up with a solution to stop this kind of activity," which may involve having gay rights activists come along for the ride when the officers are on patrol. But the investigation into Gaymon's death is staying local; a spokesperson for NJ Attorney General Paula Dow said they would not take over the investigation.