Second Black Man Found Dead in West Hollywood Home of Gay Democrat Donor
For the second time in two years, a black man’s body was found in the West Hollywood home of prominent Democratic activist and donor Ed Buck. The latest death prompted more than 100 local activists to hold a rally in front his apartment Monday night.
According to ABC News, the dead man, whose name has not been released, was in his 50s and the cause of his death is not yet known. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is conducting an investigation.
Buck is "a well-known figure in LGBTQ political circles" according to the Los Angeles Times, and had friends in high places. The Democrat was previously investigated for the death of another black man, Gemmel Moore, 26, a homeless sex worker who overdosed in his home in 2017.
Buck, 64, was present when both men died, the sheriff’s department said. Buck's attorney Seymour Amster said his client "is cooperating with investigators," according to the Times.
“From what I know, it was an old friend who died of an accidental overdose, and unfortunately, we believe that the substance was ingested at some place other than the apartment,” Amster said. “The person came over intoxicated.”
Sheriff’s homicide investigators are “conducting a thorough investigation” of the most recent death and will do “follow-up interviews and a secondary review” of Moore’s death, the department said.
Capt. Chris Bergner of the sheriff’s homicide bureau said his detectives again will be “working very closely with the district attorney’s office” and will be “carefully examining all the evidence.”
Moore died of a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s apartment in July 2017, according to a Los Angeles County coroner’s report. Paramedics found him naked on a mattress in the living room, which was littered with drug paraphernalia, the report said.
According to court records, prosecutors declined to file charges against Buck at the time, citing insufficient evidence.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office stated in a charge evaluation worksheet that the “admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that suspect Buck furnished drugs to Gemmel Moore or that suspect Buck possessed drugs.”
Moore’s friends and family have reportedly questioned whether "Buck’s ties to elected officials and differences in race and class influenced the investigation and whether the drugs that killed him were self-administered":