Rally on Laurel Avenue Calls for Arrest of Ed Buck and New Investigation Into Gemmel Moore’s Death

Jasmyne Cannick, center, speaking at the rally in front of Ed Buck’s apartment building at 1234 Laurel Ave.

More than 100 people, including local residents, black community activists and local political figures, turned out tonight for a rally demanding action by the Sheriff’s Department in the case of a black man found dead in the apartment of Ed Buck, 64, a white political activist and campaign donor.

Buck, in whose apartment the man was found dead around 1 a.m. Monday, apparently was at home during the rally, which took place in front of his building at 1234 Laurel Ave. The lights in his apartment turned on and off several times during the event. While Sheriff’s deputies and representatives of the L.A. County Coroner’s Office removed the body of the dead man around 9 a.m. this morning, Buck was not arrested or taken to the Sheriff’s Station for questioning. Several of those attending the rally said that would make it possible for Buck to destroy any incriminatory evidence.

An investigation into the death is being led by Detective Q. Rodriguez of the department’s Homicide Bureau. The identity of the dead man has not been revealed. While it is clear that he was African-American, he may not have been a young man. Cannick said that she had been told that he was in his 50s.

Those attending the rally tonight called for the arrest of Buck and also for a renewed investigation into the death of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old African American man who was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s apartment on July 27, 2017. Moore was a sex worker who was visiting his mother near Houston when Buck bought him an airline ticket to fly back to Los Angeles and go to his apartment.

Buck’s lawyer, Seymour Amster, has said his client wasn’t responsible for either death and that both men were friends he was trying to help.  Amster said that the man who died in Buck’s apartment this morning may have been using drugs before he arrived.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office ruled a year after Moore’s death that an investigation by the Sheriff’s Department death did not reveal sufficient evidence to charge Buck. That decision outraged Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, and family friends and supporters who pointed to evidence that included a diary in which Moore claimed Buck paid him to inject the drug and drug paraphernalia found in Buck’s apartment by the L.A. County Coroner’s Office. Shortly after Moore’s death, WEHOville published an article showing a screenshot of a profile that Buck had posted on an online sex site seeking other young black men.

Jasmyne Cannick, a communications and public affairs strategist who has worked on behalf of Moore’s mother, criticized the Sheriff’s Department’s handling of the Gemmel Moore investigation. Cannick said that she, civil rights lawyer Nana Gyamfi and others had done most of the investigators’ work for them by bringing forward other young black and gay sex workers who were willing to discuss their interactions with Buck and present evidence of it, including airline tickets, other receipts and even a video. She criticized investigators for insulting and intimidating the witnesses, who had been granted limited immunity from prosecution to encourage them to testify as to their encounters with Buck.

Cannick also said that she and Ms. Nixon had predicted that another death would occur at Buck’s apartment. “We will leave and there will be another man going into his house tonight, another man coming in tomorrow,” she said. “Now it’s time for the Sheriff’s Department and (District Attorney) Jackie Lacey to sh-t or get off the pot.”

Cannick said she hoped that newly elected Sheriff Alex Villanueva would take a more aggressive approach to the investigation than did former Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

The rally got contentious at several points. Several black men and women attending the rally complained that Buck’s neighbors weren’t working to get him evicted Roughly a dozen of the building’s residents attended the rally, with several proclaiming that they supported the effort to remove Buck. In fact, a petition demanding that the landlord evict Buck was being circulated inside the building while the rally was underway, with nine names on it shortly after it started.  The building is owned by David Shane Enterprises.

City Councilmember John D’Amico, left, and Councilmember Lauren Meister at rally

“We the residents of 1234 N. Laurel Ave. demand swift justice in evicting Ed Buck from his apartment,” the petition read. “His constant drug use has been a nuisance to the entire community. Our safety is compromised due to his constant traffic in and out of the drug den. The families of his victims deserve justice. And we will not stand for this anymore. He must be arrested and we should no longer suffer for his crimes.”

One resident of the building, who was willing to talk on the condition his name not be disclosed, said residents had called the Sheriff’s Station a number of times. “We call the cops on him like once a month,” he said. “They aren’t arresting him though.”

That resident said that deputies tell him and other neighbors that they can’t enter Buck’s apartment without his permission unless there is clear evidence of a crime.

City Council members John D’Amico and Lauren Meister attended the rally, with D’Amico drawing criticism from Cannick for having accepted campaign donations from Buck. Cannick criticized an array of Democratic Party members for not returning the money that Buck had donated to their campaigns. Those elected officials include newly inaugurated Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. D’Amico and Meister both expressed their support for an aggressive investigation into the deaths in Buck’s apartment. Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, who didn’t attend the rally because she was in Sacramento, issued a statement supporting it. In her statement she called for an aggressive investigation into today’s death and also “that we hold ourselves and our justice system accountable to deliver for those whose lives have been plagued by addiction…”

Also attending were two other candidates in the March 5 City Council election – Marquita Thomas and Sepi Shyne. Jeffrey Waack and Amanda Laflen of the city’s Public Safety Commission also were present.

Cannick said that LaTisha Nixon, who live near Houston, will be returning to West Hollywood at the end of this week to join in the mourning of a second man’s death at Buck’s apartment.

  1. Twice? If it were a person of color he would have been cuffed, frog marched and arraigned the next day. In an orange jumpsuit and sippers. He would have been determined a flight risk and hopefully remanded. If he is Ed Buck.? He is given not one pass but two. I think the evidence of narcotics on the premises is an indication of some sort of foul play. Or does Ed have a pass on possession of a controlled substance pass too? Two dead young men? Seriously? I will say again… I would like the ME to do a really thorough autopsy on this victim and check every orifice for signs of post mortem assault. Just to be to make sure there is no stone left unturned. If you don’t find this twofer outrageous – I welcome an explanation.

    1. Exactly. The notion that Ed Buck is just 100% innocent and blameless flies in face of common sense, and no one would be intimating it if two dead white boys turned up dead in a black guy’s apartment littered with drug paraphernalia, where both neighbors and sex workers have voiced complaints about activity in the apartment. I mean, come on.

      No, they might not be able to nail Buck on a homicide charge, but determined investigators and prosecutors could clearly mine his history to find a charge related to drugs, solicitation, depraved indifference or criminal negligence. They couldn’t get Al Capone and John Gotti on murder, but tax evasion, racketeering, and conspiracy did the trick.

      The reason investigators and prosecutors have not put a stop to the obvious criminal activity connect to Buck is because Buck is well-off politically-connected white guy and the dead bodies in question belonged to black men at the margins of society. Let’s grow up and stop playing dumb.

  2. This mob rule mentality is over done , public opinion is not the lay of the law . What might have happen their is disgusting and if he is found guilty then he should go to jail , but he is still innocent until proven guilty . Just becuase you all feel some way about it does not mean you form a lob and demand some ones arrest . The police are not stupid and they actually have trained investigators that do not need you the public to tell them how to do their job . It seems that now adays the public try’s to act like judge trial and jury everybody is an expert

    1. The police are not immune from corruption. The justice system is not immune from biased. Just because a racist system devalues black lives and refuses to hold white men who prey on and victimize blacks accountable does not mean the people have to shut and quietly take it. The police are 100% answerable to the public. We absolutely DO have EVERY right as taxpayers to criticize investigations AND tell them how to do their jobs AND demand they arrest and remove killers and predators from our communities. They protect and serve taxpayers NOT vice versa. California is NOT a police state.

      1. Criticize..voice your opinion…yes… but the guy is still innocent until proven guilty. We are still a nation that upholds innocent until PROVEN guilty. How things looks doesn’t equal a conviction. And please, enough with the racist comments.

        1. No, please enough with dismissing racism and telling black people and their allies to shut up and put up with our screwed up, biased criminal justice system. Those days are over. If Ed Buck were black and the dead guys were white he’d be in jail. Stop playing stupid. Innocent til proven guilty is a legal concept. Outside of the legal system, I’m free to asses the known facts and think whatever I want. Ed Buck is obviously a predator and obviously not innocent in all of this. You want to play dumb, go right ahead.

        2. P.S. Funny how innocent until proven guilty never applies to unarmed black men who are presumed guilty, convicted and executed by police on the streets without charge or trial because “But muh scared.”

          Calling out racism and white supremacy isn’t racism. Nice attempt at a bait and switch, but that doesn’t work outside of right wing Facebook groups. Nice try.

          1. Seeing race in every situation usually involves a racist. There have been cases where cops have been in the wrong. Some have paid for their crimes…some have gotten away with it. And some of the victims…where no victims.

  3. I am sorry but I have no idea why any mention of political affiliation or contributions matters at all! What does matter, is the obvious.

    Something is not right with Ed Buck and people are dying whether they be republican or democrat. So let’s please not digress nor turn this into something it is not.

    1. Mr Buck was a member of the Stonewall Democratic Club Steering Committee at the time of Mr. Moore’s death.
      Our Stonewall Democrats asked Mr Buck to resign. Called for an investigation. And then looked the other way.

  4. Let’s stay focused here: 2 young, black men have died in the same person’s residence within 2 years. What are the authorities doing to bring justice to their lives?!

    1. I am 100% sure they will press charges if charges are possible. The law matters – for direct responsibility in their deaths, they have to prove that the fatal doses were provided by Buck. If they came with it in their bodies before, even if he did provide additional, possible charges, but very tough to convict. I am not an expert on contributing to this – and drug charges separately (which would be more minor) certainly possible. The idea that the DA and sheriff’s department are doing anything other than trying to serve justice here though is baseless despite all the hysteria (and anger is clearly justified) in some of the posts here.

      1. The idea that the DA and the sherrif’s department are infallible and immune from bias and cannot possibly be wrong here is foolish and naive. If Gemmell Moore was white and Ed Buck was black, Ed Buck would have been held accountable long ago. Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a bubble of white cluelessness.

  5. Weho has to face the fact that it has become a pathetic cesspool of hypocritical corruption. Duran gives his toyboy Grindr pickup a ‘staff’ position for 6 figures at city expense who then sues for getting fired when he stopped performing his acts and the taxpayers get shafted for even more settlement loot. What happens to Duran? Nothing, in fact he gets re-elected! If that isn’t proof that Weho is ruled by a majority of morons nothing is. And you dare to complain about Trump’s Stormy payoff? And the 2 trigger-happy Weho deputies who shot the victims and killed John Winkler… what happened to them? Two weeks on desk duty and then back out on the streets. Meanwhile the City Council has turned Sunset Blvd into a ‘campaign contribution’ payola machine, never seeing a billboard it didn’t like. Not to mention peeing away taxpayer money on ridiculous unnecessary buildings that glorify their names with a brass placque. And does anyone think that ol’ Buckkie boy can’t ‘donate’ his way out of this one too? I’ll see what happens in wacko-ville by reading wehoville, because….Good riddance suckers, I’m moving to someplace sane.

    1. We can walk and chew gum simultaneously. WeHo government needs to clean up its act — and the new term limits should help — but Trump is still trash.

    1. Buck’s Weho donation history, as of 2017 (compiled by writer/political commentator, Jasmyne Cannick):

      John Duran for LA County Supervisor
      Amount Recv’d: $13,000
      Date: 1/6/2014, 2/11/2014, 4/21/2014, 5/17/2014
      Amount Returned: $0
      Statement Made: No

      John Duran for City Council
      Amount Recv’d: $1,000
      Date: 11/28/2012, 6/18/2016
      Amount Returned: $0
      Statement Made: No

      Neighbors for a Better West Hollywood in Support of Lauren Meister for West Hollywood City Council 2015
      Amount Recv’d: $2,000
      Date: 2/4/2015
      Amount Returned: $0
      Statement Made: No

      Lauren Meister for West Hollywood City Council 2015
      Amount Recv’d: $500
      Date: 2/1/2015
      Amount Returned: $0
      Statement Made: No

      John Heilman for West Hollywood City Council 2017
      Amount Recv’d: $2,000
      Date: 5/25/2017, 6/1/2017
      Amount Returned: $0
      Statement Made: No

      D’Amico for City Council 2015
      Amount Recv’d: $1,000
      Date: 9/29/2010, 7/24/2014
      Amount Returned: $25
      Statement Made: No

      1. Thx for listing this. Obviously very minor and anyone who thinks this has an influence on any council member to protect Buck is being ridiculous.

      2. Thx for listing this. Obviously very minor and anyone who thinks this has an influence on any council member to protect Buck is being ridiculous.

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