After nearly two years of protests and calls to action against former Democratic donor Ed Buck, the 65-year-old was arrested after a man overdosed on methamphetamine at his apartment.
The LA Times reports Buck was arrested Tuesday evening (Sept. 17) and charged with one count of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house. Noted as Joe Doe, the victim met Buck at his home Sept. 4 where he “personally and deliberately” administered a large dose of methamphetamine. The man left after fearing an overdose but returned Sept. 11 where he was yet again injected with “two dangerously large” doses of meth. Doe survived but Buck’s previous victims didn’t.
The first was Gemmel Moore, who died at Moore’s apartment at Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood. A coroner cited the cause of death on an accidental overdose, but Moore’s family was convinced the 26-year-old didn’t inject himself. Diary entries found by friends and presented to the public by reporter Jasmyne Cannick showcased Moore’s fears about Buck’s alleged fetishes around drugs and gay black men.
“I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worse [sic] one at that,” one entry reads. “Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection of meth. It was very painful but after all the troubles I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy. … I just hope the end result isn’t death. … If it didn’t hurt so bad I’d kill myself but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”
“Ed had nothing to do with his [Moore’s] death,” his lawyer Seymour I. Amster told the LA Times in September 2017. “Ed is a caring soul who allows individuals to have access to his home who are homeless or who have other social or economic issues, to give them a place to wash up in a safe environment. Unfortunately, many of these individuals come in with their lifestyles.”
But earlier this year another man named Timothy Michael Dean was also found dead at Buck’s apartment. Dean was also a black queer man. Many others began stories about Buck’s behavior towards the men who faced battles with homelessness or drug usage.
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Buck and Los Angeles County officials. During Buck’s arrest, the case wasn’t brought up but Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said she was “concerned” about other victims Buck may have targeted.
“I remain deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators,” Lacey said.
“For more than two years, activists have said Buck wasn’t charged with a crime because he is white, wealthy and politically connected. Now they’re welcoming news that he has been arrested.”We’re just completely ecstatic,” Cannick said via Twitter. “Black gay men’s lives matter. The whole black LGBT community is going to be celebrating this evening because our lives matter.”
“I feel vindicated for all the people who said it was never going to happen,” she told the LA Times. “I feel really good for all the young men he took advantage of because they didn’t feel like anyone took them seriously like their lives weren’t important enough for anyone to really care about.”
If convicted, Buck faces a maximum sentence of five years and eight months in state prison.
Read George Johnson’s Ed Buck And The Black Queer Lives That Don’t Matter here.