The mother of a man found dead in the Los Angeles home of Ed Buck has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the longtime Democratic donor, alleging that he injected her son with a lethal dose of crystal methamphetamine.
Latisha Nixon filed the complaint Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Her son, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, was found dead at Buck’s West Hollywood home on July 27, 2017.
Another man was found dead in Buck’s home earlier this year. That death is under investigation. Authorities said Buck, 64, was present at the time of both incidents.
Nixon’s suit also names Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum as defendants.
The complaint describes Buck as a wealthy white man who “had a predatory and injurious system of soliciting Black men and watching them cling to life.” It accuses him of wrongful death, sexual battery and assault and says he was not prosecuted “because he is white, and because Mr. Moore was Black.”
Nana Gyamfi, human rights and criminal defense attorney and co-counsel for Nixon, said in a statement that Moore left journals that said Buck introduced him to crystal meth.
According to NBC News, Seymour Amster, Buck’s attorney, said, “On behalf of Mr. Buck we categorically deny all allegations of wrongdoing and look forward to litigating this matter in a court of law.”
CNN is attempting to get comment from Buck’s attorney but has not received a response.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the suit.
Buck has not been charged in the case. According to a charge evaluation worksheet from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in July 2018, the admissible evidence in the case was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Buck was responsible for Moore’s death. The admissible evidence was also insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he furnished drugs to Moore or that he possessed drugs, the document states.
Two men found dead in two years
Moore’s death was ruled an accidental methamphetamine overdose, the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s website says.
He is one of two black men found dead in Buck’s home in the last couple years. In January, another man, identified as 55-year-old Timothy Dean, also was found dead. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner has not yet released his official cause of death.
Amster told CNN in January that Buck and Dean had been friends for more than 25 years. Buck has not been charged in Dean’s death and Amster said he did not believe there would be charges filed in the case.
“Yes, Ed does have individuals he associates with who have problems with drugs. He tries to talk them out of it. Sometimes they bring their problems into his apartment, and that’s where the problem is,” Amster said at the time.
Buck’s home was ‘littered’ with syringes, complaint says
According to the complaint, the official autopsy report described Buck’s home when Moore’s body was recovered as “littered with multiple syringes with brown residue, a scale, several lighters and torches,” as well as “plastic bags with white powdery residue and a clear plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance.”
Moore had never used crystal methamphetamine before meeting Buck, the complaint alleges.
“According to Mr. Moore in his journal, Mr. Buck introduced Mr. Moore to crystal methamphetamine, administering to Mr. Moore his first and extremely painful injection,” the complaint said. After the drugs were administered, Buck would engage Moore in sexual acts, according to the complaint.
The complaint accuses Lacey of declining to file criminal charges against Buck in Moore’s death despite the findings of a 2017 investigation by the County Sheriff’s Department, which uncovered other black men who said they had similar encounters with Buck. Both Moore and Dean are black.
Campaign donations to candidates and PACs
Buck has donated to a number of Democratic candidates and PACs, according to information from OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in US politics.
In 2017, he gave $10,400 to the Getting Stuff Done PAC affiliated with Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, $2,700 to Rep. Ted Lieu of California, and $1,000 each to Rep. Jimmy Gomez of California, Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, and former Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
He also previously gave $2,700 to Hillary Clinton in 2015, $5,000 to the House Majority PAC that supports Democrats in 2014, and $1,000 to Barack Obama in 2008, according to OpenSecrets.
In a statement after Dean’s death in January, Lieu said he was “deeply disturbed” by the circumstances of Dean’s death, and would donate Buck’s previous contributions to charities that serve the LGBT community.
“There is an aspect of this lawsuit that is about holding Ed Buck accountable in the language that he as a wealthy political donor understands — money,” Gyamfi said.