In 2017, a young African American man, Gemmel Moore, 26, was
found dead inside the home of Democratic donor Ed Buck under
There were demands for an investigation and protests. But in the
end, authorities said there was not enough evidence to charge
Buck with a crime.
Then in January 2019, a second man, Timothy Dean, 55, was found
dead in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment. There were more
protests and demands for action, but Buck remained free and
denied any wrongdoing in either case through his attorney.
Now, prosecutors say a third man tried to escape from Buck’s
home in September after being drugged. They claim Buck prevented
the man from getting help.
This time, authorities took action.
Buck was arrested and charged this week with operating a drug
house, with prosecutors calling him a violent sexual predator
who preys on men struggling with addiction and homelessness.
The wealthy gay-rights activist is accused of injecting a 37-
year-old man, who overdosed but survived, with methamphetamine
on Sept. 11. Buck’s attorney could not immediately be reached
for comment, but activists who have long demanded action say
they are relieved by the arrest.
The case sparked soul-searching in West Hollywood’s gay
community about wealth, power and race.
“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,” activist
Jasmyne Cannick said.
Here is how the case unfolded:
Moore’s body was found in Buck’s apartment in July 2017.
Paramedics found the 26-year-old naked on a mattress in the
living room with a “male pornography movie playing on the
television,” a coroner’s report said.
The report said Moore was visiting “his friend’s residence”
about 6:45 p.m. and “was witnessed by his friend” becoming warm
and unresponsive after using methamphetamine that had been
injected about 5 p.m. The male friend’s name was redacted.
The friend alerted a neighbor who “has medical knowledge” and
attempted CPR until a paramedic arrived. The report said Buck
Investigators found sex toys, syringes and “clear plastic bags
with suspected methamphetamine in a tool box roll-cabinet in the
living room,” according to the report.
Moore’s death was ruled an accident, and an initial review by
sheriff’s deputies found nothing suspicious. But the following
month, Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detectives launched
a new investigation into Moore’s death after his mother, LaTisha
Nixon of Texas, and friends questioned whether the drugs that
killed him were self-administered.
A notebook found in Moore’s possession indicated he used drugs
with someone whose name was redacted in the coroner’s report.
The Times reviewed pages of that journal, in which Moore
purportedly wrote about using crystal methamphetamine.
“Ed Buck is the one to thank,” Moore purportedly wrote. “He gave
me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth.”
Prosecutors ultimately declined to file charges in the Moore
case, citing insufficient evidence.
Dean died Jan 7. of methamphetamine and alcohol toxicity. The
death was accidental, and the drugs appeared to have been
injected, according to a coroner’s report.
On the morning of Dean’s death, Buck told a sheriff’s deputy
that Dean “began to exhibit bizarre behavior” and used a piece
of clothing to make a noose and tied it around his neck, the
report states. Buck said that he removed the noose and that Dean
began throwing clothes into the air.
Buck then went to take a shower, and when he returned, he found
Dean unresponsive, he told the deputy.
“He relays that he attempted CPR for 15 minutes before
contacting 911,” the report stated.
Paramedics pronounced Dean dead at the scene. Buck told the
sheriff’s deputy that he did not see Dean taking drugs and that
they did not have sex, according to the report.
Dean worked as a fashion consultant at Saks Fifth Avenue, and
previously, at Bloomingdale’s in Century City, friends say. For
years, he played in the Lambda Basketball League and traveled to
Paris to compete in the Gay Games.
The latest man found in Buck’s home, identified in court papers
as Joe Doe, went to the apartment on Sept. 4, where Buck
“personally and deliberately” administered a large dose of
methamphetamine, prosecutors said. Concerned he was overdosing,
the man left Buck’s apartment to get medical help.
He returned to Buck’s apartment a week later, on Sept. 11, when
Buck again injected him with “two dangerously large” doses of
methamphetamine, prosecutors said.
But this time, prosecutors say, Buck thwarted the man’s attempts
to leave. The man eventually fled the apartment and called 911
from a gas station. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Sheriff’s investigators found hundreds of photographs in Buck’s
home of men in compromising positions.
“The full scope of his consistent malicious behavior is
unknown,” prosecutors said. “It is only a matter of time before
another one of these vulnerable young men dies of an overdose.”
Buck is accused of luring his victims into his home and then
baiting them with drugs, money and shelter.
“From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his
victims into participating in his sexual fetishes,” prosecutors
wrote in court papers. “These fetishes include supplying and
personally administering dangerously large doses of narcotics to
his victims. ... Not deterred by the senseless deaths of Moore
and Dean, the defendant nearly killed a third victim last week.”
Buck became a nationally known figure in the late 1980s when he
led an effort to impeach Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham. News reports
at the time described him as a conservative Republican.
Upon learning that Buck was gay, Mecham’s aides distributed
bumper stickers reading “Queer Ed Buck’s Recall.” The Arizona
governor’s efforts to dismiss the recall supporters — whom he
dubbed “a band of homosexuals and a few dissident Democrats” —
with comments about sexual orientation were pilloried in the
“Doonesbury” comic strip.
More recently, Buck has donated to various Democratic causes.
Through June 2017, Buck gave $23,600 to various California races
and causes, according to campaign finance records.
He also donated to candidates running for election to the West
Hollywood City Council, Los Angeles Unified School District
board and California Senate, and he served on the Stonewall
Democratic Club Steering Committee.
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