Over the past two years, three Black gay men have overdosed (or overamped) on methamphetamine in the Los Angeles apartment of Ed Buck, the wealthy white Democratic donor. Two died as a result; the third escaped on September 11 to seek help, despite alleged attempts by Buck to stop him.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office declined to bring cases against Buck for the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, in August 2017 and February 2019 respectively. But the office has now charged Buck with battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a “drug house” in the case of the third man, referred to as Joe Doe, according to court documents reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Doe had reportedly also overdosed at Buck’s house a week before the incident that brought charges.
[Update, September 20: Federal prosecutors have now also charged Buck in the death of Moore, accusing Buck of injecting 26-year-old Moore with a shot of methamphetamine that led to his death.]
Earlier this year, after the death of Dean, Moore’s mother, Litisha Nixon, filed a civil case against Buck. On September 11, a Central California District Court judge allowed Nixon to move forward with her claims of wrongful death, sexual battery, assault and battery, premises liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress, human trafficking, and distribution of sexually explicit materials.
LA County prosecutors referred to Buck as a “violent sexual predator who preys on men struggling with addiction and homelessness,” reported the Times.
Buck has received by far the most attention for allegedly violating Black gay men within the Party ‘n’ Play (PnP) scene, where “party” refers to the use of drugs like meth, GHB and mephedrone, and “play” means sex.
But he is surely not alone. The deaths and overdoses connected with Buck have “triggered a deep wound in Black Gay communities, Yolo Akili Robinson, founder and CEO of Black Emotional and Mental Health (BEAM) and co-author of “A Blueprint Guide to Supporting Black and Latino MSM Who Use Crystal Meth,” previously told Filter. “It’s a scenario that reeks of the continued predatory and racist behaviors we often experience at the hands of many white gay men in and out of the PnP scene.”
Many are pointing out the stark hypocrisy of a white man going uncharged for years for drug-involved deaths, while Black people who sell drugs are often targeted for drug-induced homicide prosecutions.
“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,” Hussain Turk, an attorney for Nixon in her civil lawsuit against Buck, said in a statement in May.
“All this time,” tweeted Jasmine Cannyck, an activist who has led the movement seeking justice for Moore and Dean, “Ed Buck has been operating with the impunity he knows he has as a white man.”