Skip to main content

IA File Details Cop’s Rapes Of Sex Workers

By January 18, 2021June 18th, 2021No Comments

After lying repeatedly to city investigators, former city cop Gary Gamarra admitted to having sex with two different Fair Haven sex workers on two separate occasions — encounters the women said he forced them into.

Those details—and many more—are included in 101 pages worth of New Haven Police Department Internal Affairs (IA) reports, background checks, police commission minutes, state applications, and other internal emails obtained by the New Haven Independent this week through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Gamarra resigned from the force after admitting to the acts, which he described as consensual. Now he’s seeking to have the resignation rescinded and to get his badge back. The police chief, meanwhile, is seeking to have the state bar Gamarra from ever serving as a police officer in Connecticut again. And the state’s attorney’s office has decided there isn’t enough evidence to pursue a criminal case against Gamarra.

The newly released documents offer the first detailed public view into what city detectives uncovered over the course of two separate, parallel and often interlocking investigations into one of their own.

One of those investigations, spearheaded by Det. (now Sgt.) Ryan Macuirzynski, spanned 14 months, from Nov. 15, 2019 through Jan. 21, 2021.

The second, undertaken by Det. Kealyn Nivakoff, lasted from July 25, 2020 through Jan. 25, 2021.

In painstaking, often graphic detail, the detectives’ investigative reports map out what exactly happened in the run-up to Gamarra’s decision to resign on Dec. 18, 2020 under accusations of raping two sex workers — as first described in this story published by the New Haven Independent on Dec. 23.

Lt. David Zannelli, who heads the Internal Affairs Division, praised the work of Detectives Macuirzynski and Nivakoff. It was a “complex” case, he noted, and it required perseverance.

The recently completed investigations show that the former Fair Haven patrol cop received oral sex from one sex worker in roughly September 2019; and that he received oral sex and had vaginal intercourse with another sex worker in July 2020.

Both encounters took place while he was off duty.

Both occurred in his private vehicle—a 2018 white, four-door Lexus with leather seats.

And both took place with women Gamarra claimed to be recruiting to serve as confidential informants for the police department — even though the 28-year-old beat cop later admitted he had no idea how to sign up an informant and had never done so before.

Det. Nivakoff details Gamarra’s breakdown and confession.

Gamarra was asked by city investigators for an explanation for why he had sexual relations with these two women on two separate occasions that occurred roughly 10 months apart. In response, Gamarra broke down in tears and said, “I fucked up.”

“Officer G. Gamarra stated that he was having problems with his girlfriend at the time and his aunt just died from cancer,” Nivakoff wrote about her questioning of Gamarra on Dec. 17 about his receiving oral sex and having vaginal intercourse with a sex worker in Fair Haven July 2020.

“Officer G. Gamarra stated he just wasn’t thinking, and he just didn’t care at the time.”

Gamarra gave Macuirzynski a similar explanation when that detective asked the officer later in that same Dec. 17 interview about his receiving oral sex from a different sex worker in Fair Haven in roughly September 2019.

“He responded problems with his girlfriend and a family member dying from colon cancer,” Macuirzynski wrote. “Officer Gamarra said at the time he didn’t care, and he just cheated on his girlfriend.”

“She Felt Like She Didn’t Have A Choice”

Part of Det. Nivakoff’s conclusion about Gamarra’s conduct.

In both instances — after initially lying about whether or not he had sexual relations with the women, about whether or not he had been trying to recruit them as confidential informants, about whether or not he even knew these sex workers — Gamarra asserted that both sexual encounters were consensual.

He said that in neither case did he offer favorable treatment from the police in exchange for sex. He said that in neither case did he abuse his authority as a neighborhood police officer to obtain sexual favors for himself while off the clock.

Both accusers stated unequivocally that the opposite was true.

The two women said separately they both felt coerced into having sex with Gamarra because he was a police officer.

They said separately they both feared legal repercussions if they didn’t have sex with him.

They said separately they felt humiliated and abused by Gamarra’s treatment of them, even as they also both said separately that they did not speak up during the actual sexual encounters about not wanting to engage.

“She felt like she didn’t have a choice but to have sex with him and that the officer ‘raped’ her,” Nivakoff wrote about the woman who said Gamarra forced her to have oral sex and vaginal intercourse with him in July 2020.

She “stated she did not want to have sex with the officer. [She] stated she never told the officer that she didn’t want to participate in sex with him because she was scared to say it. [She] stated that she felt she had to do it because he was ‘the law.’”

The woman who had a sexual encounter with Gamarra roughly 10 months earlier said virtually the same thing to Macuirzynski about her experience.

She “drew the distinction between the Officer engaging in Prostitution and Rape,” Macuirzynski wrote. “She stated she believed the Officer used his position as a Police Officer to rape her as opposed to him soliciting prostitution. [She] said the Officer did not use a weapon or assault her at any time, only ‘force by verbal’ according to [her]. She stated her options were to be ‘harassed and constantly pulled over’ or ‘give him a blowjob and he’s gonna go away.’”

And she said that, by not paying her for the sexual service rendered, even though he knew she was a sex worker, she felt that Gamarra had specifically pressured her into giving him oral sex as payback for him not arresting her on a previous encounter.

Both detectives concluded their investigations by sustaining the respective sex workers’ complaints against Gamarra and by finding that the now-former police officer violated a host of departmental orders, including regarding rules of conduct, incident reports, body worn cameras, patrol operations, and radio communications.

Next Steps

Gamarra’s letter to union

And so, four years after first joining the force (over the objections of some police commissioners about concerns raised by his background check), Gamarra resigned from his city job on Dec. 18.

Exactly 10 days later, on Dec. 28, he wrote to then-Chief Otoniel Reyes and police union President Florencio Cotto.

“Dear Friends,” the letter begins, “I am hereby rescinding my resignation of December 18, 2020, and I am asking that I be restored to the police force. I am also requesting the union file a grievance on my behalf claiming that the city engaged in an unlawful labor practice. the manner in which I was compelled to resign was unfair and coercive. I want to resume work as a New Haven police officer.”

In a separate exchange, on March 18, Supervisory Asst. State’s Attorney Lisa D’Angelo wrote to Lt. Zannelli that her office “has reviewed the materials submitted with regard to the above-referenced matter [i.e. Gamarra’s IA files].

“The submission is being returned as deficient in that the affiant does not assert that there is probable cause to make an arrest.”

Thomas Breen photo


Acting Chief Dominguez: Seeking to decertify Gamarra.

And in a third exchange, On March 29, Acting Police Chief Renee Dominguez (pictured) filed a certification cancellation, revocation or suspension request form against Gamarra with the state Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST).

That decertification application seeks to bar Gamarra from ever serving as a police officer in Connecticut again because Gamarra “has been found by a law enforcement unit, pursuant to the procedures established by such unit … to have engaged in conduct that undermines public confidence in law enforcement”.

(The documents provided to the Independent through the FOIA request show that former Police Chief Otoniel Reyes submitted similar decertification paperwork to POST on Feb. 8, but the file he filled out wound up being an old form, leading to the state requesting that the city police department send along another version in late March.)

Warning: Graphic Material Ahead

The reporting below, drawn from the released IA files, includes graphic descriptions of allegedly nonconsensual sexual encounters.

For the sake of trying to clearly differentiate between the two sex workers at the center of this case, both of whose names have been redacted from the police reports received by the Independent, the woman whom Gamarra had sex with in July 2020 will be identified as AB. The woman whom Gamarra had sex with in roughly September 2019 as CD.

The First Complaint

The first city police investigation into Gamarra began on Nov. 14, 2019, when Sex Workers and Allies Network (SWAN) Executive Director Beatrice Codianni reached out to Fair Haven top cop Sgt. Michael Fumiatti about CD’s complaint.

The case was assigned the next day to Det. Macuirzynski.

Subsequent interviews took place with CD at an undisclosed location on Nov. 15, 2019, at a pre-arranged meetup behind the Lowe’s on Foxon Boulevard on July 28, 2020, and at 1 Union Ave. on July 29.

CD said that, in September 2019, she was giving oral sex to an unidentified male customer at the dead end of Poplar Street in Fair Haven near the water late at night when a uniformed police officer pulled up in his patrol car and put a spotlight on the two of them.

The officer told the man to come to his vehicle, asked him for his registration, asked if he paid CD for sex, and then ultimately told him to leave.

The officer then spoke with CD and said “she could be in a lot of trouble and that he did her a huge favor,” Nivakoff wrote. The officer then asked what CD was going to do for him in return.

“The officer said that he wanted a blowjob and to see her boobs,” Nivakoff wrote.

After deciding that that location was not discreet enough, the officer allegedly told CD that “she owed him one.”

Roughly a week later, CD said, she saw the officer again on Ferry Street in Fair Haven. He told her he wanted to “cash in on his favor.” The two didn’t engage in any sexual acts that night, CD said, because she had drugs on her and didn’t want to engage with the police officer.

The following morning, she said, the driver of a white four-door sedan pulled up to her on Ferry Street. She got in, and realized it was the officer—this time off-duty and not in his uniform.

“Let’s get this thing done with,” he allegedly told CD.

“The officer drove around while [CD] gave him oral sex,” Nivakoff wrote. After they were done, he dropped her off at Sports Haven on Long Wharf and did not pay her.

“She believed that the oral sex was in exchange for him not arresting her during their first meeting,” Nivakoff wrote about her July 29 interview with CD. “[She] stated her motivation in coming forward was because she felt that the officer was abusing his position. [She] stated it would be one thing if he was a customer and paid for sex, but [she] felt that if she didn’t perform a sexual act on him, the officer would continue to harass her in the future while he was on duty.”

During the July 28 interview with Nivakoff behind Lowe’s, CD told the detective “she didn’t feel that this officer had the ‘brain capacity to come up with idea on his own.’ [She] stated she felt like someone must have told him it was okay to act in this manner.”

She also told Nivakoff she initially did not cooperate with Macuirzynski’s investigation (which, by July 28, had already been open for eight months) because she feared that her “involvement made her appear like a snitch and she lost her best drug dealer over her involvement in the case.”

Gamarra’s Response To Complaint # 1

Nivakoff’s and Macuirzynski’s Dec. 17, 2020, interview with Gamarra took placein the police chief’s conference room at 1 Union Ave. Aalso present were Elm City Local Union Representative Officer John Lambe, Sgt. Edward Dunford, and Sgt. Christopher Fennessy.

The investigators turned to CD’s case after spending the first three-plus hours wading through Gamarra’s various admitted lies and then confessions about his encounters with AB. (See more below.)

“Officer Gamarra started the discussion by stating, ‘With her, she just gave me head. I did not have sex with her,’” Macuirzynski wrote.

Gamarra confirmed that he had stopped CD and her male customer late at night at the dead end on Poplar Street.

He admitted that he did not have his body camera on. He admitted did not actually run their respective names to see if they had any outstanding warrants.

“I asked Officer Gamarra if he had a separate conversation with [CD]” that night after dismissing the man, Macuirzynski wrote. “After a long pause, Officer Gamarra said he did not recall if he had a private conversation with [CD] or if she left with the driver of the truck.”

Gamarra said nothing sexual occurred between them that night.

He also said he knew she was a sex worker. He said that he would “frequently speak with [CD] who would provide him intelligence about criminal activity. He would speak with her as she walked on Ferry Street in Fair Haven while on duty.”

When asked about what led to the two meeting up after that encounter on Poplar Street, Gamarra told Macuirzynski, “I know you don’t care” and “I picked her up and she gave me head.”

“Officer Gamarra said he had problems in his life which were far away from work. Officer Gamarra said, ‘I didn’t care about anything, so I picked up a 1601,” which is police code for sex worker.

He told Macuirzynski that the meetup was not prearranged. He claimed that she voluntarily entered his white Lexus when he invited her in.

“I asked Officer Gamarra what his intent was on the day he picked up [CD]. I asked him why he was driving down Ferry Street in his personal car off duty. Officer Gamarra stated, ‘I wasn’t thinking right, and I picked up a 1601.’”

Gamarra was “adamant that he did not proposition [CD] with protection for illegal activities as a law enforcement agent or to ignore any illegal acts she may commit in exchange for oral sex,” Macuirzynski continued about that Dec. 17 interview.

Macuirzynski then asked Gamarra if he knew of any other New Haven police officers engaging in the same type of activity.

Gamarra replied that CD and AB “mentioned that it was not the first time they had sexual relations with a New Haven police officer but could not provide any other details.” He said he did not know of any other officers who may have had sex with Fair Haven sex workers. He denied that any officers influenced him or persuaded him to engage in sexual acts with sex workers.

“Officer Gamarra was upset that because he worked hard with other officers in Fair Haven,” Macuirzynski wrote, “this would be reflected as a dumb decision and tarnish his reputation.”

In his Jan. 21, 2021, writeup about the conclusion of his investigation into Gamarra’s alleged interactions with CD, Macuirzynski wrote that Gamarra had violated 12 different New Haven Police Department general orders and principles.

“Officer Gamarra betrayed the public trust by his actions of knowingly soliciting a sex worker off-duty,” Macuirzynski wrote in support of his findings. “Officer Gamarra did not properly investigate a suspicious act involving [CD] on-duty and subsequently searched for a sex worker to receive oral sex-off-duty. Officer Gamarra solicited [CD] with whom he had direct contact in his official duties as a Police Officer, and did not pay her for oral sex. By his own admission, Officer Gamarra knew [CD] to be a sex worker and understood it was wrong to engage in that activity. His actions are held to a higher standard and he destroyed the confidence and respect of the citizens he served in his employment as a New Haven Police Officer.”

The Second Complaint

The second investigation into Gamarra’s involvement with Fair Haven sex workers came on July 24, 2020, when Lt. Zannelli informed Nivakoff that Beatrice Codianni had called him about a New Haven police officer soliciting sexual acts from AB.

Macuirzynski’s investigation had been ongoing for months at this point. Investigators still were not 100 percent sure by July 2020 that Gamarra was the officer involved in CD’s complaint.

Macuirzynski did, however, develop Gamarra as a “person of interest” in February 2020 after CD — who was reluctant to participate in the ongoing investigation — spotted Gamarra on patrol in the neighborhood. She let Codianni know that she thought that was the officer who had allegedly sexually assaulted her.

On July 25, Nivakoff met up with the second complainant—AB—behind Lowe’s on Foxon Boulevard, with the help of Codianni. She then formally interviewed AB and AB’s boyfriend at the New Haven Police Department on Aug. 31, after the two—who had not responded to calls for a month—were arrested on a separate domestic charge.

Here’s what happened to AB, from that second sex worker’s perspective:

She said she first met Gamarra in the early summer of 2020 when he responded to two domestic disputes between her and her boyfriend.

On June 30, Gamarra arrested her boyfriend for an outstanding warrant.

AB said Garmarra “stopped her approximately five times” in the week after he arrested her boyfriend. She “stated he would make comments regarding her physical appearance and made sexual advances towards her,” Nivakoff wrote.

Gamarra told her “she could work for the police department, in what sounded like a confidential informant capacity,” Nivakoff wrote.

Sometime in the first week of July, her boyfriend had been arrested and was incarcerated. AB was leaving a friend’s truck on Ferry Street at 1 a.m. when she “observed a white four door Lexus with dark tints parked at the stop sign on Chambers Street,” Nivakoff wrote.

She told Nivakoff she heard a male voice call out to her from that car.

When she realized it was the police officer who had arrested her boyfriend and “who had been stopping her repeatedly while on duty,” she “felt obligated to get into the car because he was an officer,” Nivakoff wrote, even though he was off-duty at the time.

After driving to the Citgo gas station at Chapel and Ferry to buy a condom, the two then drove over to Poplar Street, AB told Nivakoff.

That’s when he “made me suck his dick” in the car. The two ultimately had vaginal intercourse.

She said she cried during sex because she was in pain. She said she did not speak up because she was intimidated by his position as a police officer.

AB said she had two more encounters with the officer. While on duty later in July, he allegedly told her he’d like to get a meal with her after his shift ended at midnight. She agreed, but didn’t show up.

The next day, again on duty, Gamarra caught up with her and “began to give her a hard time about standing him up the night before,” Nivakoff wrote. He then backed off when he realized she was not alone in a car, but was instead with her cousin.

Nivakoff was ultimately able to identify Gamarra as the subject of AB’s complaint because he was the officer who had arrested her boyfriend on June 30.

She and Macuirzynski were able to connect Gamarra to CD’s complaint from back in the late summer/early fall of 2019 because both AB and CD independently identified the officer’s car as a white, four-door Lexus.

They also gave similar physical characteristics that matched with Gamarra’s in separate interviews.

And one of the women picked Gamarra’s face out of a randomized photo display during an interview in the summer of 2020.

Gamarra: “I Fucked Up”

When she interviewed Gamarra about AB’s complaint at 1 Union Ave. on Dec. 17, Gamarra initially denied just about everything.

He said he knew AB only in passing. He said he would tell her to get off the corner of Ferry and Chambers Streets because a neighbor would complain about her.

When asked if he ever asked AB to to be a confidential informant, Gamarra said no. He said he documented all of his interactions with AB.

“Then Officer G. Gamarra contradicted himself and stated he has never documented any other interactions with [AB]” besides a domestic incident on James Street. He never completed any field interview cards or any other sort of documentation.

After some discrepancies between Gamarra’s recollection of the June 30 arrest and what the body camera footage showed (or didn’t show, as Gamarra turned the camera on only after AB’s boyfriend had already been detained, and AB was not in the frame), the police union representative requested a break.

Half an hour later, when Gamarra returned, “he stated he needed to clarify that he did indeed try to sign [AB] up as a confidential informant,” Nivakoff wrote. “Officer G. Gamarra stated that [AB] wanted money up front, and he explainted to her that it didn’t work that way.”

He also said that he had tried to sign up CD as a confidential informant as well.

“He stated both females were reluctant to sign up with Officer G. Gamarra while he was in uniform because they didn’t want to appear like snitches.”

That’s why he picked each of them up in his private vehicle, while off-duty, he said.

“When Officer G. Gamarra was asked why he lied about signing the women up as confidential informants, he stated he didn’t want to appear like he was picking up prostitutes in his personal vehicle,” Nivakoff wrote.

“Officer G. Gamarra stated nothing sexual ever happened between him and [AB] nor him and [CD].”

That too would prove to be a lie.

After continuing to be “misleading and vague when answering questions,” Nivakoff wrote, she ultimately asked him about the night when Gamarra claimed to have picked AB up at 1 a.m. and driven her from Ferry Street to Poplar Street.

She asked if there would be any reason why his DNA would be on any part of AB’s body, or inside of her mouth, or inside of her vagina.

That’s when he broke down crying.

“I fucked up,” he admitted.

Nivakoff was asked him again if he had had oral sex with AB. He said yes.

She asked him again if he had had vaginal sex with AB. He said yes.

His telling of what happened corresponded almost exactly with AB’s.

The key difference lay in whether or not the sexual acts were consensual.

AB insisted they were not. Gamarra said they were.

He told the city investigators multiple times that “he did not force [AB] to have sex with him,” Nivakoff wrote.

He acknowledged that he knew, or at least believed that AB was a prostitute. (In her write up, AB and her boyfriend told Nivakoff that she is not a prostitute, while a separate friend and Gamarra and other Fair Haven patrol officers said she is.)

“Officer G. Gamarra was asked if there was an expectation or trade off for the sexual act, such as an exchange that she would not b arrested in the future,” Nivakoff wrote. “Officer G. Gamarra responded no.”

Gamarra also acknowledged that he did indeed see AB twice after that—though he described their conversations as “vague,” and said they had no subsequent sexual encounters.

In the conclusion to her Jan. 25, 2021 IA report, Nivakoff found Gamarra had violated more than 10 department general orders and principles.

“By his own admission, after signing administrative warning and false statement forms, Officer G. Gamarra lied multiple times during his interview with Internal Affairs,” Nivakoff wrote about one such violation.

“Officer G. Gamarra was indirect, misleading and dishonest throughout much of his interview with the Internal Affairs division regarding his knowledge and contact with [AB] and [CD] that occurred both on and off duty.”

Later in the report about her finding’s regarding AB’s complaint, Nivakoff wrote, “This investigation found that Officer G. Gamarra’s actions and conduct during the sexual act discredited himself and the New Haven Police Department.”

She said her investigation’s findings sustained AB’s complaint.

“This report will be forwarded to POST for further review and consideration on decertifying Gary Gamarra as a police officer.”

Leave a Reply