Prominent Democratic donor and LGBTQ activist Ed Buck was arrested Tuesday and charged with operating a drug house out of his West Hollywood apartment after an unnamed man suffered a meth overdose there.
Prior to this, two Black men were found dead of meth overdoses in Buck’s home — Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55. They died within a span of 18 months. Nothing was done about it, prompting protests by Black activists.
Buck’s most recent victim survived by fleeing the apartment and calling 911.
Prosecutors describe Buck, 65, as a violent sexual predator who preys on men struggling with addiction and homelessness, Los Angeles Times reported.
A wrongful-death suit claims Buck is a wealthy white man with “a predatory and injurious system of soliciting Black men and watching them cling to life,” according to Newsweek.
Paramedics found Moore naked on a mattress in Buck’s living room. Los Angeles County coroner’s officials concluded that he died from an accidental meth overdose in Buck’s apartment, which was littered with drug paraphernalia including 24 hypodermic needles, five glass pipes and sex toys.
Buck denied doing anything wrong in Dean and Moore’s deaths. The LAPD did not file criminal charges against Buck in 2017, when Moore’s body was found in his home, reportedly surrounded by drug paraphernalia.
Moore’s family filed a lawsuit.
“If the dead body of a blond-haired, blue-eyed white man was found in the home of an older black man, he’d be lucky to even make it to the police station alive,” said Hussain Turk, an attorney for Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon.
Buck got special treatment because he was white and Moore and Dean were Black, and because of his fundraising for Democratic candidates and political activism, according to Jasmyne Cannick, a political consultant and spokeswoman for Moore’s mother.
A quiet group of onlookers gathered across from Buck’s apartment Tuesday night. There were no signs or protests.
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Cannick was there. “We’re just completely ecstatic,” she told those gathered there, according to the LA Times. “Black gay men’s lives matter. The whole black LGBT community is going to be celebrating this evening because our lives matter, and people need to know that. Even if we’re sex workers, even if we’re on drugs, even if we’re homeless, we’re still part of the black community, still part of the LGBT community.”
In their lawsuit, Moore’s family named LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey as a co-defendant for failing to press charges. The D.A.’s office claimed insufficient evidence to prove Buck was responsible for Moore’s death beyond a reasonable doubt.
On Tuesday, Buck was charged with three felony counts—battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house. Arraigned is expected today. Prosecutors want bail to be set at $4 million.