Opinion: What About Ed Buck?

What about Ed Buck?

On Dec. 27, two days after Christmas, it will be five months since the dead body of a 26-year-old black man was found in the apartment of a politically active 63-year-old white man in West Hollywood.

Also found, according to a disturbing report by the L.A. County Coroner’s Office, was a cabinet filled with sex toys, syringes and what paramedics described as “suspected methamphetamine,” the drug that caused Gemmel Moore’s death.

LaTisha Nixon, left, with her son, Gemmel Moore.

Thanks to pressure from Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, and West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath and L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department several weeks later announced that it would take another look at a death that the Coroner’s Office had designated “an accident.” The District Attorney’s Office announced it would grant limited immunity to prosecution to young sex workers like Moore who came forward to talk about their experience with Buck.

Did Ed Buck kill Gemmel Moore, as is alleged by some of Moore’s friends and family members? We may never know, given the difficulty of proving that Buck injected Moore with the drug, as some allege, or even provided it to him (both allegations denied by Buck’s lawyer). After all, no witnesses were present.

But what we do know is that a very vulnerable young man, a young black man without a regular place to sleep and without much money, a young black man who admitted to working as an escort for the money, is dead. And we know that he is not the only young black man who Ed Buck has paid to stop by his Laurel Avenue apartment.

So, the question is why hasn’t the Los Angeles County District Attorney charged Buck with possession of methamphetamine? It is an incredibly addictive and dangerous drug that some would describe as the gay epidemic of this decade, a decade when HIV still exists but won’t kill you.

Why hasn’t the West Hollywood City Council more aggressively pushed for an answer to that question? The Council will consider regulating dog groomers at its meeting on Monday, and has taken a stand in opposition to the dog meat market in Yulin, China (whose city council likely doesn’t follow the WeHo Council’s decisions). But why hasn’t it bothered to speak up and act on the meth epidemic in West Hollywood and the greater Los Angeles gay community? Why hasn’t it publicly demanded an investigation into rumors of human trafficking in West Hollywood, rumors that include young Asian women as well as young black men? Why hasn’t it pushed harder for an answer to the question: What about Ed Buck?

In California, a first-time conviction for possession of methamphetamine results in a misdemeanor “diversion,” in effect an education program, after which all charges are dropped. Not an especially tough punishment, but such a conviction would send a powerful message.  It also might wake up some WeHo residents who have dismissively responded to Moore’s death by saying that, at the age of 26, he was an adult responsible for his own decisions. Of course he was. But he was an extremely vulnerable adult, probably much more vulnerable than those young adults who are calling out powerful entertainment industry, media and other executives for their sexual exploitation.

Dec. 25 will be the first Christmas in 26 years in which the only way Gemmel Moore’s family and friends can communicate with him is through their prayers. One Christmas gift we should all pray for is action by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, the L.A. County District Attorney and the West Hollywood City Council.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story erred in stating that a conviction for possession of methamphetamine would result in a mandatory sentence of felony probation. A change in California law now results in what is called a misdemeanor diversion.  The story has been updated.


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seeker of righteousness
Guest
seeker of righteousness

Yes, Hank, your opinion piece was very good but if anything was not hard-hitting enough. The “leaders” of the City of West Hollywood are revealed as total hypocrites, beholden to campaign donations by Dems. Really, MSNBC, CNN should be out here and BLM has prima facie evidence of “prejudice” against Afro-Americans. In other words, Gemmel is just another “lost black guy, who cares?” I cannot imagine the pain of his mom.

fine7760
Guest

Hank, you indicate the only crime Buck could be guilty of is possession since the drugs were observed. But I’m certain it’s a felony to provide those drugs to others and an additional charge if said other dies of an overdose. Let’s not forget Mr.Moore was not Mr. Buck’s only visitor, others have come forward with what they experienced.

A Concerned Citizen
Guest
A Concerned Citizen

I feel terrible for the family, and at 26 YO, he might have been vulnerable, but this does come down to the law, and he was 8 years a legal adult. I do think they should cite Buck for possession, as you indicated, at the very least. That’s probably all they can get him on. They also should address the meth epidemic more, with how prevalent it is in this city. I don’t want to sound insensitive to this young man’s family, but did they not know what was happening in his life? If he was vulnerable, were they paying… Read more »

Michael G.
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Michael G.

The reaction of the WEHO Johns who took big bucks from Mr. Buck could soon qualify them as the WEHO CLAN. I don’t think they realize the negative media and attention this is developing when it starts going bananas on social media with no forgiveness from muckraking. Why don’t they donate the Buck bucks to the memory of this unfortunate young man who was nothing but cheap trade to Mr. Buck? Maybe the Johns are a little too close to Buck’s MO? Thanks Hank for exposing the hypocrisy of the WEHO leaders and paid officials who will be shown no… Read more »

kab1200
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kab1200

Could not agree more.

Rudolf Martin
Guest
Rudolf Martin

Well said, Hank!