A group formed to push for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a young black man from a drug overdose in the apartment of WeHo’s Ed Buck will hold a meeting on Oct. 21 to give the community an update on the investigation into the matter.
According to an announcement of the event, it is being presented by “Justice4Gemmel + All of Ed Buck’s Victims.” Gemmel Moore is the 26-year-old man who was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose on July 27 in the apartment of Ed Buck on Laurel Avenue. Buck, 63, is known locally for his successful efforts to the get the West Hollywood City Council to ban the sale of fur products and as a donor to local, state and national political candidates.
Those attending the community event include LaTisha Nixon, Moore’s mother; civil rights attorney Nana Gyamfi and “Black Lives Matter” co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
The event will take place at 11 a.m in Rooms 1 and 2 of the Community Center at Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. and is open to the public.
Moore’s death initially was classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the L.A. County Coroner. But, after pressure from Moore’s mother, community activists, L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin and WeHo City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department announced that it was taking another look at the matter. The L.A. County District Attorney’s office has agreed to give limited immunity from prosecution to other young men who have said that they had encounters with Buck while working as prostitutes.
Jasmyne Cannick, a writer and commentator on political, race and social issues, has published pages from Moore’s journal that investigators discovered in Buck’s apartment. In that journal, Moore wrote, “I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that. … Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.”
“My life is at an alltime [sic] high right now & I mean that from all ways. I ended up back at Buck [sic] house again and got munipulated [sic] into slamming again. I even went to the point where I was forced to doing 4 within a 2day [sic] period. This man is crazy and its [sic] sad. Will I ever get help?”
“Slamming” refers to gay men injecting drugs such as crystal meth. Meth addiction is a major issue in the gay community. An investigation by WEHOville in September 2016 found that on an average weekday night as many as three drug dealers could be found in West Hollywood on Grindr, the gay sex hookup app, along with many more users seeking sexual encounters with others using the drug.
According to Addictionblog.org, a website about meth addiction, the drug can be deadly if 100 milligrams or more is directly injected into one’s arm. Whether a particular dose of meth is lethal also depends on an individual’s sensitivity to a specific amount of the drug and whether the individual has taken other drugs.
Since Moore’s journal was published, other young gay black men have come forward with photos, emails, and text messages recounting similar stories involving Buck.
The issue has become a complicated one for local politicians whose election campaigns Buck has supported with financial contributions. It also has become awkward for WeHo City Councilmember John D’Amico, whose successful campaign for City Council in 2011 was backed by Buck and included D’Amico’s call for a ban on fur sales, a major cause of Buck’s. Buck donated a total of $1,000 to D’Amico’s two campaigns, $500 for the 2011 campaign and $500 for the 2014 campaign.
Cannick, in an op-ed published on WEHOville, has tried to draw a parallel between Buck and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, another major political donor who has been outed for his sexual harassment of women. In her op-ed, Cannick criticizes local politicians for not condemning Ed Buck and calls on them to return donations Buck made to their political campaigns and donate them to the Justice4Gemmel effort.