Opinion: A Year Since Gemmel Moore’s Death, an Obvious Crime That Law Enforcement Still Hasn’t Solved

Ed Buck, center, with Hillary Clinton and Gemmel Moore

You’d think it was the made-up plot for the sequel to Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’–if it wasn’t true.

A 63-year-old white prominent Democratic political donor living in West Hollywood uses the internet to stalk and prey on young, Black gay men who are usually homeless, HIV positive and often work as male escorts.  One of those young men ends up dead of a crystal meth overdose. The police deem it an open and shut case of an accidental overdose–presumably because he was Black and the white man told him that he had no idea the dead man was in his house doing drugs and must have overdosed.

That is until the same young man’s journal is published and other young Black gay men come forward with photos and videos recounting similar stories about a white man in West Hollywood with a lot of money who has a Tuskegee Experiment like fetish. A man who likes to shoot crystal meth into young Black men that he picks up off the street or via dating hookup websites just to see how they react to it while he makes them dress up and pose in white underwear.

But this is not fiction–it’s the story of the tragic death of 27-year-old Gemmel Moore in the home of Ed Buck one year ago July 27. A home that a coroner’s report confirmedwas littered with drug paraphernalia including 24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue and burn marks, a plastic straw with possible white residue, clear plastic bags with white powdery residue and a clear plastic bag with a “piece of crystal-like substance.”

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

In his journal, Moore wrote, “I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” a December entry reads. “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?”

His last entry, dated Dec. 3, 2016, reads: “If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”

Buck has since been accused by multiple victims of being a sexual predator, kidnapping, forced drug use, injecting men while unconscious with crystal meth, filing false police reports to cover his crimes, coercion and pimping and pandering — all criminal charges.

One year later, Ed Buck is no closer to facing criminal charges than the night they carried Gemmel Moore’s lifeless body out of Buck’s apartment.

A page from Gemmel Moore’s journal.

While the media made much of the fact that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened Moore’s death as a homicide investigation, had they followed up they would have learned that it was mostly to save face after Moore’s journal had been published and made national news.

The “investigation” consisted of the Sheriff’s Department relying on me and Gemmel Moore’s family attorney Nana Gyamfi to provide them with evidence, witnesses they could interview–witnesses that we fought and won immunity for in order for them to give statements to police that they didn’t trust in the first place—oh–and one flyer asking for more information about the death of Gemmel posted at Buck’s frequented haunts in West Hollywood.  A flyer that featured Gemmel’s photo rather than a photo of the man known for soliciting Black gay men behind West Hollywood bars. In fact, the detectives early on verbally took on the role of prosecutors and were seemingly more concerned about what charges they thought Buck could fight and get off on –including using California’s Proposition 47 law–than completing a thorough investigation. That was their “investigation.”

So here we are one year later and once again Gemmel Moore’s name is again in the news and trending on social media–this time because the Sheriff’s Department has turned in their “investigation” to prosecutors for “consideration.”

What’s not in their “investigation” is the account of a young man that detectives called an “illegal male escort.” Why?  Because before the interview could be scheduled they had already offended the young man to the point of no repair.

I’m sure what’s not in their “investigation” is how the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department failed to act on complaints by victims of Ed Buck–and how if they had–Gemmel Moore might be alive today.

What’s not in their “investigation” are the multiple cell phones owned by Gemmel Moore that he used to communicate with Buck and  which probably hold additional evidence.

What’s missing from their “investigation” is a video from May 5 of this year showing yet another young Black gay man at Ed Buck’s house.  A young man who told me that Buck also paid him to do meth but only if Buck was the one to shoot it into his veins. A young man who similar to Gemmel Moore–Buck bought a ticket from Los Angeles to Dallas.

Jasmyne Cannick

And while Dr. Conrad Murray (Michael Jackson’s personal physician) and Cathy Smith (John Belushi) are proof that there’s precedent, in Ed Buck’s case, this all amounts to him being on his way–courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department–to getting away with criminal charges that could include first-degree felony murder, second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, torture, furnishing controlled substances, possession of controlled substances, assault causing great bodily injury, illegal possession of drug paraphernalia, pimping and pandering, providing false statements to the police, false imprisonment and filing a false police report.

Ed Buck should be charged with murder in the death of Gemmel Moore.

If the roles were reversed, Gemmel Moore would not have benefited from his years of political donations and relationships with politicians.  His word on what happened would not have been taken for face value by the police. Gemmel, or any other Black man who had a dead white man who overdosed on drugs in his apartment, would have been met with: do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to jail.

Gemmel Moore and Buck’s other victims may have been male escorts.  They may have even agreed to do things for money that you might find utterly abhorrent.  That’s not really the point because Gemmel–no matter what else–did not agree to be killed that day.

Criminal justice reform isn’t only about police killing unarmed Black men and women.  It’s about changing an entire system that doesn’t value the lives of Blacks whether we’re the suspect or the victim.


14 Comments
  1. Let’s not forget that Jeffrey Dahmer was able to kill many young black gay men over a period of time. Ed Buck specifically sought out vulnerable black LGBT men to turn them onto drugs and watch them get high in his presence. There’s evidence that Buck shot up men, and if he did shoot up young Gemmel, then he should have faced a manslaughter charge at the very least. A jury should have been given a chance to sort this out but instead it’s being debated in the comments section.

  2. We have a young man that had a problem with drugs used one too many times and use too much and now he’s dead. He was a consenting adult and one that went back time and time again for more drugs and more sex. Personal responsibility. Don’t blame race. The guy was an abuser and paid the ultimate price pure and simple. Ed Buck may not be a saint but there’s nothing pointing to him being responsible for this young man’s death. Just because he’s a white guy doesn’t mean he’s guilty. That’s a racist mentality.

  3. This is total nonsense. The District Attorney’s office is dominated by Republicans because Republicans are the type of people who enforce laws and prosecute criminals, and that’s what the voting public wants in a prosecutor. If the DA’s people were acting out of personal or political interests, they would be tearing each other apart to get the job of prosecuting a big Democratic donor whose drug supplier and prostitute died in his apartment from drugs he injected into him. Even more so because it’s West Hollywood, the most vice-tolerant city in the county, with a Democratic councilman who makes a living defending obviously guilty people in DUI and vice cases prosecuted by the DA’s office when not using Grindr to find future employees. Imagine the fame they’d get outside the left wing West Hollywood bubble, among conservatives and even mainstream Democrats, from such a juicy story that already ran on the Drudge Report. It would be a ticket to a political appointment, judgeship or elected office in a less left wing district, or a lucrative circuit on talk shows or a book deal. The fact that they’re not doing it shows that there’s no case to prosecute.

    Moore’s diary is exactly why Buck will not be prosecuted. Moore admits, in his own handwriting, that he was a drug addict who acted out sexual pain fantasies with Buck and kept going back because he wanted more. In has last diary entry, Moore even says that he wanted to commit suicide in Buck’s presence. Then he died. This will be used by a defense attorney to cast Moore as a suicidal addict who was framing Buck in his diary and wrongfully blaming Buck for Moore’s own terrible life choices. The diary will be cited as evidence that Moore went to Buck’s place intending to die. Buck could make up all kinds of stories about what happened to make him look innocent and Moore look like he committed suicide. People have a constitutional right to speak in their own defense. There is no way to stop this from getting presented to a jury even if it’s a lie, and the jury will certainly be comprised of people who have never heard of the case and have no foreknowledge that anyone is lying.

    People in California are not prosecuted anymore for having sexual encounters or pain fetishes. Nor are they prosecuted for drug and prostitution crimes like they used to be. The focus has shifted toward giving people second chances, social services and treatment. If people want to go back to throwing the book at people for having an addiction or for trading things for sex, they need to go back to the 1980s and also elect a bunch of Republicans who will enforce the law, like Nixon, Reagan and Giuliani, the type of people who would have thrown Moore and Buck into a cell years ago for a first offense. When you elect Democrats like Jerry Brown instead, you get an ultra soft on crime attitude, and drug dealers and prostitutes are given free reign to do what they want and sometimes end up dead. Both approaches often harm the people they try to help. The lax attitude about crimes like the ones Moore committed helped lead to his death, but locking him up in prison could have killed him, too. If Moore had been in New York and arrested and prosecuted under DA Giuliani, instead of dying, these same people would be holding the same protests, saying he was arrested only because he was black and that law enforcement should have left him alone in his “harmless vice” because the most he needed was “a little help” and probably a big fat welfare check.

    Prosecution requires evidence. Real evidence, not conjecture or race baiting. There is zero evidence that Buck administered drugs or even touched Moore on the day he died. This might not even get past a preliminary hearing. That requires admissible evidence and not a jury’s opinion. We are a country with a constitution that provides strong protection to the accused, and allows juries to weigh reasonable doubt. A diary of a drug addict saying he was going to kill himself just before he died of an overdose is reasonable doubt for enough jurors to cause a mistrial, and this will not be prosecuted.

  4. The crime was solved. He was a drug dealer and a prostitute and he died of an overdose while voluntarily taking illegal drugs. Dead people don’t get charged with crimes and don’t get prosecuted.

    1. People like Ed Buck certainly don’t get charged in West Hollywood. It’s a white folk town hiding behind the rainbow flag. And Buck is a rich white man, a politician maker. He financed John D’Amico’s campaign and gave money to Mayor John Grindr Durand. It’s all about Pay for Play in D’Amico and Durand’s #antimetoo WEHO. And D’Amico has made the Townscape Three into the Townscape Four. Three Johns and Lady Horvath who hope she gets a job in Sacramento instead of hanging around WEHO. This is a collection of small-town politicians with strip mall tastes and mentalities who have turned the Sunset Strip into a series of architectural eyesores covered up by overpowering billboards creating a traffic hazard. They only want one thing, to get Buck into rehab so he will give more money to their political campaigns.

  5. Chris, correct. And while I feel for the family, and think Buck is most likely guilty of these charges, the DA’s office is only going to bring this to trial if they feel like they have a case. I sincerely doubt politics are an influence here, or there is some sort of conspiracy. Whatever living witnesses say happened to them does not prove what happened in that apartment that evening. Nor does the journal. Maybe I don’t know enough about the law, but I could see this as a tough case to prosecute, if that is the main evidence. Buck can continue to claim that this kid voluntarily did drugs, and there’s really nothing to disprove that, without any witnesses, or evidence to contradict it.

    The most shocking thing is that he seems to still be at it. The man is probably an addict. Drugs, and young black men. I can’t imagine his mindset, but if I were him, I would have left town a long time ago. But if he’s an addict, that changes everything, as far as decision-making goes.

  6. Reality check: the City Council has absolutely nothing to do with any charges in this case. That rests with the Los Angeles County District Attorney, who makes decisions based on evidence and the likelihood of conviction. It’s fine and appropriate to be concerned about possible unfairness here. But anyone who claims that Council members are somehow responsible for Buck not being charged needs to present evidence for that. If not, they should consider being less irresponsible in their rhetoric.

    1. Why don’t all of these West Hollywood City Council members who are so righteous and upright return all the contributions given to them by at Ed Buck?

    2. The West Hollywood City Council members who took thosands of dollars in donations from Ed Buck never returned it. D’Amico was Buck’s guy. Running on the ludicrous platform of selling fur in West Hollywood. Maybe D’Amico should run now on a platform of prohibiting old white guys from running drugs out of their apartments or getting young assistants on Grindr!

      1. Is it conceivable that D’Amico didn’t know about this? Is it also conceivable that Buck’s anti-fur efforts were also valid? These things can co-exist. It isn’t corruption, especially if D’Amico didn’t know about it, and the fur ban is a great thing, setting a precedent for the rest of the country. I don’t see why he’d need to return any campaign donations. He took Buck’s donation knowing what he knew then. Is he supposed to dig into his own pocket and return the money because this came out? I don’t think one thing has anything to do with the other, and I think D’Amico is a very honorable man, and one of the best people on the Council. Should HRC return her donations, also? Is a full investigation or background check done on every person who donates to a political campaign? I think not. And just because someone donates to a political campaign does not mean that person is pulling the strings of a candidate (but sometimes it does).

        If there was corruption here, please provide some evidence. Otherwise, this is just your conjecture.

        Then again, it was only a $25 donation, according to this article (unverified). If that’s what it was, I highly doubt that Buck was controlling D’Amico in any way, and I guess D’Amico could afford to return the $25, if it makes you feel better.

        https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/8/28/young-mans-death-wealthy-donor-and-cost-silence

          1. Don’t bother with those that cry corruption with NOTHING to back it up. They’ve made up their minds like trump supporters, and will never be told otherwise. It’s just a waste of time.

  7. It is amazing that the hypocritical and racist policies of West Hollywood allow this to happen without protest.

    But where is John Durand and John D’Amico and the other John and the so-called two tree hugging women regarding this? The pay for play City Council of West Hollywood. Nowhere. Because they are nothing except lapdogs for the politians that run California including Los Angeles that won’t prosecute Buck because he was a big donor to the Democrat Party.

    If you are black, the one thing you have to accept is the WEHO political hacks are only interested in your vote. And if you’re a developer and have money the’ll shine your shoes.

    The politians don’t have time for some unfortunate black kid who was seduced by this old man into a drug game.

    Especially Mayor John Grindr Duran who would rather promote Stormy Daniels than see Buck arrested. Duran, along with John D’Amico don’t want Buck on trial and the possibility of many other things coming out at trial. Who knows how wide range Buck’s drug operation was?

    It was the same reason the City of West Hollywood did not want to have Ian Owens vs John Durand for sexual-harassment go to trial. Imagine what a field day Owen’s lawyer would’ve had with John Duran on the stand.

    This is another unfortunate story of a young man being seduced by an old white guy. The general M.O. in Duran’s #antimetoo West Hollywood.

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