If you were participating in the betting pool on what it takes for a rich white man to face justice in America, I’m sorry if you put your money on a single dead body or even two dead black men. As it turns out, three black men must overdose at a wealthy white man’s home before police will finally say: “Enough is enough.”
At least that’s the case with Ed Buck, a wealthy white Democratic donor who was charged with running a drug den after a 37-year-old man overdosed inside Buck’s West Hollywood, Calif., apartment last week. If you’re playing at home, that’s two relatively young black men who have been found dead inside the wealthy 65-year-old tech entrepreneur’s home in two years and another who has fled Buck’s apartment and called for help after being injected with methamphetamine.
Buck, 65, was charged with one felony count each of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house.
According to the DA’s office, Buck was accused with injecting the victim with methamphetamine at the defendant’s apartment in the 1200 block of Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood. The man survived.
“I remain deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. “With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.”
Lacey previously resisted charging Buck in the two prior deaths. Although she is known to be hesitant to charge white men with killing black men, her office now calls Buck a “violent, dangerous sexual predator,” who “mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.” The court motion adds that Buck used “narcotics, money, and shelter” to manipulate young black men “into participating in his sexual fetishes.”
An Arizona native, Buck relocated to Hollywood after making a small fortune with a company that provided driver’s license information. The “millionaire, self-acknowledged homosexual and registered Republican” eventually left Arizona and the GOP because of their LGBTQ intolerance and became a major political donor. Over the years, he has donated millions to Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton and California politicians.
On July 27, 2017, Gemmel Moore was found in Buck’s bathroom after Buck allegedly injected the 26-year-old with drugs. Moore had voiced his fear of Buck to numerous friends and family members, even writing in his diary that Buck had a penchant for drugging young black men whom he had in his home.
On January 7, 2019, 55-year-old Timothy Dean, a well-known fashion consultant for Saks Fifth Avenue, died of an overdose at Buck’s apartment. Dean’s death was ruled “accidental” and Lacey vowed to investigate.
According to the L.A. Times, the most recent victim actually left Buck’s apartment after prosecutors say Buck personally gave the man a “large dose of methamphetamine” on September 4. The man, called “John Doe” in court papers, returned to Buck’s apartment on Sept. 11, and Buck allegedly gave him another “two dangerously large” doses of meth. Authorities say Buck tried to prevent the man from calling for help but he finally escaped.
Multiple men, all young, black and gay, have come forward since Moore’s death with evidence that Buck often encourages the men with whom he keeps company to take drugs. Dean’s friends assert that he didn’t drink or do drugs. One man, Damar Love, has publicly shared pictures taken inside Buck’s apartment showing drug paraphernalia. Another provided journalist Jasmyne Cannick screenshots of himself surrounded by drug paraphernalia. In a journal entry, 26-year-old Moore wrote that Buck introduced him to illicit substances.
“I honestly don’t know what to do,” the journal excerpt reads. “I’ve became [sic] addicted to drugs and the worst one at that. 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.”
The charging documents also allege that Buck’s actions caused the death of Moore and Dean, explaining: “The defendant’s predatory acts and conscious disregard for human life must be stopped.”
Buck is set to be arraigned Wednesday and prosecutors have recommended $4 million bail. Buck’s attorney promised that Buck would fight the charges “vigorously.”