WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Monday, January 7, a 55 year-old man was found dead inside the West Hollywood home of Ed Buck, a longtime LGBTQ activist and Democratic Party donor. Authorities have not disclosed the name of the victim or details related to the cause of death for the victim, but officials from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department indicated that paramedics arrived to the apartment located on Laurel Avenue after 1 a.m.
This is the second death to transpire inside Buck’s home in the past 18 months. Buck was not named a suspect in the case, but was at home at the time of the death. Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster informed reporters that “Mr. Buck has not been arrested in this incident and I think they have done a thorough investigation. Nor was Mr. Buck arrested for the previous incident.”
Buck, 64, was raised in Arizona, where he graduated from Phoenix College. At the age of 16, he came out as gay to his parents. He lived in Europe for a number of years and returned to the United States in 1980. Buck found success as an American political activist in 1987. He founded the Mecham Watchdog Committee in the attempt to fuel a campaign to impeach Evan Mecham, the Arizona governor at the time. Buck was arrested in 1983 for public sexual indecency in an adult bookstore.
Buck’s campaign against Mecham, a recognized homophobe, gained him recognition in the LGBTQ community. In 1989, he was named the Grand Marshal of the International Gay Rodeo in Arizona. In 1991, Buck moved to West Hollywood and attempted a run for City Council in 2007. He ran a successful campaign for a ban on fur sales that helped propel City Council member John D’Amico into office in 2011. Buck has grown to be a top financial supporter for local, county, state, and national democratic candidates.
Gemmel Moore, 26, was found dead inside Buck’s apartment on July 27, 2017. Moore’s family and friends indicate they suspected foul play after reading his journal along with text messages and emails exchanged between Moore and Buck.
One email showed Buck sent Moore an airplane ticket to travel from Houston, Texas to Los Angeles, the day before his death. Journal entries stated that Moore used drugs with Buck. Moore was found naked in Buck’s apartment with drug paraphernalia around the home. Moore’s cause of death was listed as an accidental drug overdose. Buck was not charged in the case.
LaTisha Nixon, the mother of Gemmel Moore, has called for justice for her son. A page found in Moore’s diary reads, “I pray that I can just get my life together and make sense I help so many people but can’t seem to help myself I honestly don’t know what to do I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that, Ed Buck is the one to thank he game me my first injection of chrystal meth it was very painful but after all the troubles I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.”
Nixon spoke to the West Hollywood City Council in August 2017 where she said, “We have a lot of victims that have came forward. We have more information, but we need immunity for these people because some of the charges by them testifying could be felonies. I should not even been here before you guys. I feel if the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department did a thorough investigation. ”
“I am asking for justice for my son,” Nixon added. “Ed Buck needs to be stopped. He needs some help, he needs to be stopped.”
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, January 8 Nixon wrote, “I had no idea my baby was dealing with so much hurt and pain. Ed Buck must be convicted he will not stop he will continue to hurt and kill black men. There are 2 people now that have lost their lives..#justice4gemmel.”
A number of protestors gathered outside of Ed Buck’s home demanding his arrest. African-American protestors are calling out the question of race in the case. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating the death.