The sisters of Timothy Dean, a 55-year-old gay black man found dead in the Los Angeles home of Ed Buck in January last year, have filed a wrongful death suit against the prominent Democratic donor. The suit alleges Buck preyed on vulnerable gay black men, including their brother—“forcibly and repeatedly” injecting Dean with crystal meth for Buck’s own pleasure.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the suit alleges Buck “had a predatory and injurious system of soliciting black gay men and watching them cling to life while battling symptoms of methamphetamine toxicity after he intravenously administered large doses of the drug to them.”
In exchange for sexual acts performed with and in front of him, Buck would give men cash, temporary housing, alcohol, or drugs.
Joyce Jackson and Joann Campbell’s lawsuit is the second against Buck, a powerful fixture on L.A.’s political scene. The first, filed by the mother of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore late last year, contains many similar claims to the ones laid out in the latest lawsuit. Moore, also black, died under similar circumstances: he was found in Buck’s home in 2017 after taking a lethal amount of crystal meth.
Buck was charged last year with multiple counts of methamphetamine distribution in the deaths of Dean and Moore, including two charges of distribution resulting in death. If found guilty of the latter, Buck could face life in prison without parole.
But the charges only came after a sustained public outcry from community activists. The last few years have seen growing awareness of sexual harassment, abuse, and the power dynamics that undergird both. But the most vulnerable—namely, young people of color with unstable living situations, or ongoing mental health and substance abuse issues—continue to fall through the cracks.
Attorney Hussain Turk, who is representing both Dean’s and Moore’s family in their civil suits, called out law enforcement’s slow movement on the deaths in a statement last week.
“The issue of sexual violence has become very salient thanks to the #MeToo movement, but one of the failures of the movement is that really only wealthy, white women are trusted when they come forward with allegations,” Turk said. “Had the victims in this case been white or wealthy, then we firmly believe that the claims would have been taken much more seriously.”
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster has been dismissive of the allegations against his client in the past, chalking up the public advocacy around Dean and Moore’s deaths to “Some people who all of a sudden have media attention...trying to divide the races.” He told the LA Times on Wednesday that he wasn’t aware a suit had been filed.