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home : news : national news free November 19, 2019

9/30/2019 11:57:00 AM
Activists ask why donor wasn't arrested

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — When a dead man was carried out of Ed Buck’s apartment two years ago, members of the gay political club he lavished with thousands of dollars in political donations swiftly ousted him.

Buck attempted a comeback in early January, less than six months after prosecutors declined to bring charges in the overdose death. He tried to crash the Stonewall Democratic Club’s holiday party at a West Hollywood wine bar, telling members he had been exonerated, club president Lester Aponte said.
“When somebody dies at your house, wouldn’t you think that’s the kind of event that will make you re-examine your life choices?” Aponte told The Associated Press. “It doesn’t seem like it registered with him at all.”

Two days after Buck was escorted out of the bash, another gay man was found dead in his West Hollywood apartment — again from a methamphetamine overdose. Buck is white, and both dead men were black.

He wasn’t stopped until authorities said a third black man nearly died. It’s what victims’ families and their supporters warned about for two years as they tried to get prosecutors to bring charges.

“I said it the last time we were down here that there’s going to be a third victim,” said LaTisha Nixon, whose 26-year-old son, Gemmel Moore, was the first to die. “We said there’s gonna be a second victim. We kept saying it because we all knew ... Ed Buck didn’t stop doing what he was doing.”

Nixon and her supporters welcomed the arrest but criticized the time it took to put Buck behind bars and renewed their questions about whether a wealthy white Democratic donor benefited because the victims were mostly gay black men and drug users, some of whom were sex workers and homeless.  

“If white gay men had been dying in a black man’s house or anybody’s house, rather, this case would have been taken a lot more seriously,” said Jasmyne Cannick, a communications strategist who spearheaded the effort to get justice for Moore. “Ed Buck knew who he was preying on, and he knew that people would not care. Or he thought that people would not care.”  

Buck, 65, was arrested Sept. 17 after the third man was hospitalized for an overdose.

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