Probe Democratic donor drug deaths

For New Pittsburgh Courier

Prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck has been charged with running a drug house after a man overdosed last week at his home in West Hollywood, California.

The charges appear to be long overdue considering that this is the third overdose at Buck’s home since 2017. The man was not identified and survived, while the other two men died.

Buck, 65, is charged with maintaining a drug house, battery causing serious injury, and administering methamphetamine, all felonies. He is described in court documents as a “violent, dangerous sexual predator” who targeted men “made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness” by administering them large doses of narcotics as part of his “sexual fetishes.”

Prosecutors say Buck continued to inject men with drugs after the two deaths at his home, which occurred in July 2017 and January 2019. The two deaths remain under investigation.

The incidents raise questions about whether Buck was protected from earlier prosecution because of his race and class.

Buck is White, wealthy and politically connected. He has donated thousands to prominent Democrats including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In addition to being a major Democratic Party donor, Buck is a past candidate for the West Hollywood City Council and is well known in LGBTQ political circles.

The two men who died at his home were African Americans lacking wealth and influence. There are questions as to how thoroughly their deaths were investigated by authorities and whether a third overdose at Buck’s home could have been prevented if officials had acted sooner.

In July 2017, there was an investigation into the death of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old gay Black man who was determined to have overdosed at Buck’s residence.

He was found naked on a mattress in the living room with drug paraphernalia littered about. An autopsy report said Moore died of a methamphetamine overdose.

The coroner’s report also noted that a journal was found in Moore’s possession.

“I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” the journal said, according to the newspaper. “Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection.”

In another section, the journal said, “If it didn’t hurt so bad I’d kill myself but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”

The county district attorney’s office declined to file charges against Buck.

After the second death at Buck’s home, Jasmyne Cannick, a political activist in Southern California, protested outside Buck’s apartment. She accused Buck of picking up Black men outside bars, contacting them on dating apps and paying for those outside the state to fly to Los Angeles to see him.

“He never stops,” Cannick said at the rally, pointing to Buck’s apartment.

It appears that there will now be a thorough investigation into the deaths of the two men and the overdose of the third who survived. Authorities are finally taking steps to hold Buck accountable.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)

 

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