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LGBTQ Community Demands Investigation After 2nd Death in Political Donor's Home

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jan 8, 2019

A second gay black man has died in the West Hollywood home of Democratic political donor Edward Buck, multiple news sources said. The cause of death in this most recent instance is not as yet known, media outlets said, but the fatality has sparked renewed calls for a thorough investigation of Buck, reports CBS, which also notes that the LGBTQ community is helping to lead the charge.

Protestors who congregated outside Buck's residence demanded action and referenced the July 2017 death of a black male sex worker named Gemmel Moore, 26, whose death at Buck's residence was reported to have been due to an overdose of meth. Entries in the journal kept by Moore suggested that Buck had shot him up with the drug on multiple occasions, media reports said.

Local news source Wehoviulle.com reported that after Moore's death, authorities found bags of what was thought to be drugs, as well as drug paraphernalia at Buck's home, but decided not to pursue prosecution, citing a lack of evidence.

Buck is known as a well-connected donor to Democratic politicians, media sources reported, including Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. Critics pointed to this in questioning why more wasn't done in 2017.

Moore's death "sparked a protest about its handling by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and about the reaction to the incident by Democratic Party politicians," the Wehoville story said.

The second death — reportedly of a black man in his 50s who passed away at Buck's home on January 7 — has galvanized critics once again, reported UK newspaper the Daily Mail. One such critic, Jasmyne Cannick, declared that authorities had "blood on their hands" in the most recent incident, the Daily Mail reported.

"'This was preventable," the Daily Mail quoted Cannick as saying. "We knew he hadn't stopped, that it was only a matter of time before this happened again. And now it's only a matter of time before it happens a third time if he's not stopped."

The Los Angeles LGBT Center weighed in, releasing a statement that said, in part, "The reports we have heard provide more questions than answers. The fact is two black men have died at Mr. Buck's home in less than two years."

Bucks lawyer, Seymour Amster, portrayed his client as innocent, Wehoville reported.

"This is not a situation where Mr. Buck had caused the death," Wehoville quoted Amster as saying. "This is a situation where Mr. Buck has had longtime friends who, unfortunately, do not handle their life well, then succumb when they are in the apartment of Mr. Buck."

Amster told the press that Buck had received a phone call from the man in the early morning hours of January 7. The man, Amster said, insisted on coming over to Buck's home despite the hour. Shortly after his arrival, Amster said, Buck noted that "his friend was acting with bizarre behavior. Shortly thereafter it was obvious his friend needed medical assistance. Ed called paramedics. They arrived, they were unable to revive him, and unfortunately, he died in the apartment."

The Daily Mail quoted Moore's mother as saying that, according to her late son, Buck would send Moore out "looking for young gay black guys so he could inject them with drugs, see their reaction... and take pictures of them."

Amster told the press that the unidentified man arrived at Buck's home having already "consumed controlled substances.

"There were no controlled substances ingested in the presence of Ed," the attorney said, "nor did Ed give any to his friend."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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