Family, Friends and Supporters of Gemmel Moore Rally to Condemn Investigation of His Death

Jasmyne Cannick, left, speaking at the Gemmel Moore vigil at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station

The family and friends of Gemmel Moore were among a group of about four dozen people who stood outside the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station tonight to condemn the investigation of his death by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and call it out as an example of racial and class discrimination.

Moore, a 26-year-old black man, was found dead on July 27, 2017, in the Laurel Avenue apartment of Ed Buck, 63, a well-known white political donor, surrounded by drug paraphernalia and pornography. Buck is known for entertaining young black men, some of whom identify as escorts, at his apartment. On the day he died, Moore, who lived in Los Angeles but had been visiting his mother in Texas, had flown from Dallas to Los Angeles on a ticket paid for by Buck, who invited him to his apartment. The L.A. County Coroner’s office initially ruled that Moore’s death was an accident because of an overdose of methamphetamine.

LaTisha Nixon, Gemmel Moore’s mother

Under pressure from Buck’s family and West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath and L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin, the Sheriff’s Department opened an investigation into the death. On Thursday, L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office announced that there was insufficient evidence to charge Buck with being complicit in Moore’s death.

Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, has repeatedly said that his client is innocent. Amster said that Buck took young black men in in an effort to care for them.

Amanda Laflen, a member of the city’s Public Safety Commission, attended the event along with fellow commissioners Tory Berger and Robert Oliver. She read a statement from Councilmember Horvath, who was out of town, in which Horvath strongly criticized the justice system and the District Attorney’s unwillingness to file charges and cited the investigation of Moore’s death as an example of racial and class bias.

“The life of a thoughtful, caring and giving 26-year-old young man was cut short due to unthinkable circumstances,” Horvath’s statement read. “More young men have since come forward, sharing their concerns of similar encounters. Yet our justice system has said that their stories don’t matter, that their truth is irrelevant. It has told the members of our community that possessing narcotics, using narcotics, luring impressionable young LGBT people without resources into sex – that all of these acts are none of their concern. That anyone facing these issues is on their own. Without support. Alone.”

“We have seen this story before. Black people struggling with addiction are responsible for their own fate. White people, on the other hand, deserve our sympathy and require recovery services and national awareness campaigns.”

Horvath, the only City Council member who has been vocal in her concerns about the incident, also criticized others for not speaking out about it. “We … know that if Gemmel was born into a different family, if he came from a different walk of life, if Gemmel looked like me – there would be mass outrage.”

Horvath’s mention of other young black men coming forward was a reference to apparent testimony to Sheriff’s detectives from other young escorts after the District Attorney’s office agreed to grant them immunity from prosecution for prostitution.

Jasmyne Cannick, a communications and public affairs strategist working with Moore’s family, revealed tonight a video taken by another young black man at Ed Buck’s apartment on May 5 of this year. In the video, he and Buck discuss making “points,” which is a slang term for a needle used to inject the drug and also used as a term of measurement. Buck apparently had purchased a ticket to fly him back to Dallas. The video can be seen online here.

Gemmel “Juelz” Moore (left) and Ed Buck (Facebook)

West Hollywood Mayor John Duran was criticized at the event. Hussain Turk, a young gay lawyer and activist who lives in West Hollywood, noted that Duran at a City Council meeting last year had warned young men against coming forward to testify against Buck because they could be prosecuted themselves on prostitution or drug charges. Turk described that as an effort to protect Buck from other possible witnesses and noted that Buck had been a donor to Duran’s election campaigns.

Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, told the crowd that she wasn’t surprised that charges were not brought against Buck, given what she saw as the reluctance of the Sheriff’s Department to pursue the investigation.

However, Nixon said she was not going to end her efforts in the matter. “No more Gemmel Moores,” she said, citing his death. “I’m definitely not going to go away. Ed Buck needs to be stopped.”


25 Comments
  1. Let’s move on from the conspiracy theories and go back to doing some positive resistance for maximum media exposure. Maybe Kathy Griffin could reunite with the City Council to hold District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s severed, bloody head to use comedy to make the point that black lives matter to all of them. If Kathy Griffin can do stunts like that to sell tickets to her shows and get hired by the City Council to attend its events, imagine the publicity John Duran could get from a video of him holding the DA’s severed, bloody head while shouting “Black Lives Matter!” and pumping his fist in a Black Power salute outside the DA’s office. Take that, Donald Trump!

  2. Chris Sanger has it correct. The DA, who I have worked with many times, is correct to not file charges as there is no proof that Buck injected Gemmell. The family, and many political groups are Policitizing this horrible tragic event. Let me know also that I know Buck and he has been a meth user for years, shady, dishonest, overreactive, biased, and a lost soul. Was Gemmell’s relationship with Buck integral to his death, probably. Is Buck despicable, yes? The big issue here it the EPIDEMIC OF METH USE IN THE LGBT COMMUNITY. The City Council has no part in this case not are they cupable in any way. Everybody wants to blame someone. Is Buck responsible for Gemmell’s drug use? Probably? Was Gemmell responsible for getting his life together and to get away from Buck, YES. Now if you want a real scandal, focus on hypocritical Councilmembers like Sexual Harasser John Duran who keeps getting elected. How is this man still in office. You Wehoians keep voting for him. Who’s responsible for that? You are. Rest in Peace Gemmell. I wish I had met you before you fell down that hole. Buck, you should be ashamed and crawl into a hole and never see another person again.

  3. New Journal Entry Says Prominent Democratic Donor Forced Victim to ‘Slam’ Crystal Meth Mind you that “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is needed for a “conviction” the highest standard used as the burden of proof in American jurisprudence and usually only applies in criminal proceedings when considering aggravating circumstances in criminal proceedings. For an investigation or for law enforcement to look into the matter, the standards used to evaluate evidence in the criminal context include “reasonable belief and reasonable suspicion.” Any police actions that are subject to these standards of proof must be based on grounds that are reasonable in light of the circumstances.

    True, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office filed a “Denial of Filing Charges” in the investigation into whether West Hollywood resident Ed Buck was involved in the death of Gemmel Moore in Buck’s apartment last year. But, that’s NOT the end of this matter. The attention this case has attracted is likely to expose additional evidence in the near future and, work against Mr. Buck in prison even if it’s an exceptionally short stay!

  4. I have never commented on this case not because I didn’t care about it, but because it has horrified me. I cannot possibly make an assumption as to what happened that night. What I can say, is that tragedies like this, and so many more I have seen,need to be the wake up call to our community that the last thing meth brings to the table is a party. I have lost more than a dozen friends to this monster of a drug in the last 5 or 6 years. Please just stay away from it. My heart truly aches for all involved. Truly, it does.
    Jimmy Palmieri
    Founder
    The Tweakers Project

    1. Thank you Jimmy. Agreed. Its difficult to have an opinion, when we weren’t there, and have no hard evidence as to what happened. The fact that Buck continues to have young gay men over doesn’t prove that he’s culpable in Moore’s death, although I’m aghast that he continues with this behavior, guilty, or not. But he’s most likely an addict, and it is a waste of time to try to rationalize his judgment, after these accusations, and even if he’s innocent. Because addicts don’t always act in a rational manner.

      If there’s only one thing we can take out of this, it is how much of an epidemic meth use continues to be.

  5. I’m sorry…but if Mr. Moore looked like Ms. Horvath…I don’t believe their wouldn’t be any more outrage (or lack thereof) than there is in this case. We have two adults involved in drugs and one OD. Happens everyday to white people, black people, and people of every other color, every day in this country. No one forced Mr. Moore to go to Mr. Bucks time an time again and do drugs. That is a choice he made. Do I think Mr. Buck is a saint …no. Two people both making bad choices and one made one that cost him is life. People have a tendency these days to blame everyone else but the person that did the bad. Enough. There were no charges filed against Mr. Buck because there is no evidence that he killed this man. On the contrary, all the evidence points to a young man that had a drug problem and used too much, one too many times.

    1. Can you seriously be so dismissive over the well established instances of racism in the context of drug addiction both in terms of society’s acceptance and the response of the legal system? The popular image of white addicts has always been one of “angels who lost their way” where as non-white addicts are presented as “demonic super-predators.” This is even reflected in differences in public policy between the two groups, where as white addicts are offered a comfortable stay in a Malibu rehab center, the non-white addicts are forced into mandatory minimum sentences in the worlds most dangerous maximum security prisons.

      With the social safety net and public higher education all but destroyed, by this current administration and their powerful supporters, we have situation of defacto force that exists where poor people are FORCED into relationships with people that they would otherwise NOT have.

  6. I, an elderly white man, find the verdict disgusting. I am angry and saddened by this outrageous verdict. It is brutally apparent that justice was not served.
    They, the powers that be, must take another hard look at this debacle.

    1. R.C., there has been no verdict yet. just like in the O.J. Case. he was found not guilty in a criminal Court, but he was sued in Civil Court which is what I would advise Ms. Dixon to do. There is so much evidence to support the case and Discovery will bring more. They potentially have a dozen or more Defendants with 20 or more Causes of Action. A Jury would give them anything they asked for plus Punitive Damages against City Council Members (as Defendants) for Dereliction of Duty. I’m not an Attorney, but I have been Plaintiff in Pro Per many times and I could pass the State Bar.

  7. This is just another reason the Entire City Council, except for Ms. Horvath needs be replaced. Not only did the Council Members who took money from Ed Buck not return it, but they did nothing to help facilitate the investigation. This is a perfect example of the famous “Pay for Play” in West Hollywood that must stop! WEHO is known all over the World as WH “White Hollywood”. I hear that expression everywhere I go. It’s been called the whitest City in America. I do believe if Mr. Moore had been white, Mr. Buck would be behind bars right now. It does not matter if Mr. Moore was a Sex Worker or an Attorney (basically the same thing), He did not deserve to be tortured, humiliated, injected with drugs and die. He was a Human Being. He had the right to Live. He had Potential. He could have become a Productive Member of the Community with the positive direction of others. If the City Council had done the right thing, the minute they knew about Mr. Buck’s conduct, Jemmel might be here today in recovery. Our Purpose in life is to help each other and if we can’t do that, we should not hurt them. The Current City Council has not only caused horrific hurt to the Family and Friends of Mr. Moore, but they have caused great hurt to the Reputation, Dignity and Integrity of West Hollywood Worldwide. I don’t know how those Members of Council who took Mr. Buck’s money sleep at night. I wonder, as they fall asleep every night, if they imaging Jemmel’s dead body on a mattress in the living room of Mr. Buck who helped get them elected.

    Eric Jon Schmidt

    1. Eric: Thanks very much for your comment. You are totally right. The WEHO City Council was not alone in taking money from Buck, dozens of male Democrat politians. This entire farce was most likely a total cover up with the cooperation of the DA and Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept so that certain politicians would not be exposed. Especially because of the major problem with the drug connections and the Grindr drug issues. For the coming election, the major person to focus on is John D’Amico. He was totally financed by Buck. Time to kick him out of office.

      1. Eric Schmidt, that was indeed a very nice political campaign speech. You should be proud to exploit an opportunity to promote yourself while putting others down. Nice job!

        This is an issue that has nothing to do with race, nor is this isolated or first time this has happened in this city. It is all political, which you have clearly demonstrated.

        Older men have taken advantage of younger men, white, brown, black and other for a long time. Young men have used sex to get what they want.

        If you plan to be an example of this City, why don’t you do the research to find out how many other cases such as this has happened, and tell us how you plan to correct it all.

        Truth be told, if Ed Buck where not involved, no one would be outraged! This whole thing has been political right from the start, and its a shame!

        1. NO! He is right on this one, I want our politicians involved in serious issues. A well established precedent of racism or injustice in society of any kind is NOT an excuse for it to continue.

          Eric Jon Schmidt has consistently taken on the right-wing establishment for its history of injustice. When the perpetrator in this case appears to be a famous Democratic donor, it is consistent with his moral positions in the past to defend the victim. The real hypocrites are the Trump supporters who defend him no matter what he does!

        2. FYI: I have just sent a notice to Wehoville and council members that I am dropping out of the race because I bought a house in Hollywood. I did that last week. So my comment had nothing to do with my campaign. I knew I was running when I made that comment. Why is there so much hate?

        3. Thank you for taking on Eric’s self promoting comments that have about as much relationship to the truth as Devin Nunes or Jim Jordan about Rod Rosenstein.
          The reality is that because Ed Buck was involved as well as the understandable involvement of the victim’s family that this almost certainly got far more investigation and review than would other cases. Let’s deal with reality: to get an indictment, the DA would have had to believe that she could prove that Buck provided what caused the fatality, and perhaps forced him to take it. What the DA had to deal with was someone with a history of drug use, who died in Buck’s residence. We may expect, even assume, that Buck provided it. But to indict him, proof is needed. A past history of doing so is not proof, and would never prevail in a trial. The dead man’s past behavior would have been central to the case, and made a conviction with the evidence available impossible. No responsible DA would present this case, despite the demands from Eric and others here.
          A civil suit is a different matter – only a slight majority of evidence is needed to prevail. We’ll see what happens.
          But most posts here have nothing to do with legal reality or the facts of the case. This is being used by the usual people for their hobby horse of casting ridiculous assertions about City Council members.

          1. Chris, thank you for speaking the truth. I feel deeply sorry for this young man’s family, but in the real world, The DA’s office isn’t going to take a case to trial if they don’t think it can be won. Perhaps he could have been brought up on other charges. But there doesn’t seem to be any hardcore evidence (at least, reported by the media), that makes this case winnable, beyond a reasonable doubt. It isn’t easy to convict someone of a crime. Perhaps on a lesser charge, he could have been convicted.

            People can apply political conspiracy theories all they want, but, once again, where is there evidence that Council members influenced the DA’s office? From what I’ve read, Buck donated $25 to D’Amico, which he did indeed return, even if Buck and D’Amico were working together towards an anti-fur campaign, and there might have been some financial political support there. And it doesn’t spell corruption if Buck donated to Democrat political campaigns if candidates didn’t know of his behavior. After an election cycle is over, it might be up to the candidate to dig in his or her pocket to return the contribution. Contributors aren’t fully vetted (especially with a $25 contribution). Based on that logic, should every politician that took a penny from Harvey Weinstein return every penny, as though they knew he was a sexual predator? I’m sure many would think “yes,” but I don’t think they have an obligation for something they didn’t know about. If they did, then, yeah.

            I think it is kind of gross that some people are trying to drag some public servants through the mud for something many of them likely never knew anything about. Not every politician is corrupt. I believe there are many that believe all politicians are corrupt, and I’d like to know what their solution to this is? If that were true, should we have zero political system, whatsoever? It is far from perfect.

            And Buck could have still could have been a well-meaning political donor and a supporter of liberal causes such as anti-fur, while at the same time be a drug addict, and maybe even a predator. These things can co-exist. That’s the world we live in, unfortunately.

    2. The only reason Hovath stood up is because Buck helped cost her a reelection campaign with his Fur Free law that John D’Amico pushed. Political payback. Pure and simple. Just more politics.

      1. You don’t know what you are talking about! Since that would have been your response you attempt to ascribe it to others. Careful!

  8. I must admit that I know nothing about this particular case other than a few articles I have read and, having watched a youtube video. That having been said, just imagine if an affluent 63 year old man had a 26 year old white female hooker over at his place and, after injecting her with drugs she ends up dead. I have seen similar situations and, the older affluent man is taken into custody by law enforcement on the spot while the investigation is going on and, later having to get bailed out of jail with a negligent homicide charge filed against him at the very least. Why is it so different when the victim is a black man?

    1. Cy – the police IIRC have zero evidence that could be proved in court that the victim was injected with drugs by Buck. That’s the difference. Facts matter. Not defending Buc, but we live in a system where allegations need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It appears the reasons that no charges were filed is that the LA Co District Att’y (who if it matter is African American) decided they would not win in court, not because of who the victim was or the alleged perpetrator.

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