Homicide detectives have presented a case against high-profile Democratic donor Ed Buck to prosecutors for review and possible criminal charges, according to a Los Angeles television station.
CBS2 News reports that the office of L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey is “now deciding” whether it has enough evidence to prosecute Buck in connection with the death of Timothy Dean, 55, who was found dead in the political benefactor’s West Hollywood apartment on January 7. Sources told an investigative reporter with the outlet that prosecutors received the case weeks ago and have requested additional information, “including forensic analysis and medical records,” according to the report.
Dean, who worked at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, was also a former adult film performer. He was the second gay black man to fatally overdose on crystal methamphetamine inside Buck’s home within a span of 18 months. An advocacy group with strong ties to Black Lives Matter has accused Buck, 64, who is gay and white, of administering the lethal doses that killed both men.
Prosecutors announced last summer that they lacked sufficient evidence to charge Buck in the death of Gemmel Moore, the 26-year old sex worker who died at his residence on July 27, 2017. However, the glare of publicity that followed the second death sparked a renewed investigation into the circumstances of Moore’s fatal overdose.
Earlier this year, Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Buck, D.A. Lacey, and Deputy D.A. Craig Hum.
“Los Angeles County District Attorney has a duty to charge and prosecute Ed Buck for the murders of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean and for all the crimes he committed against the Black gay men he targeted for torture and harm for his pleasure and amusement,” said Nixon’s co-counsel, Nana Gyamfi, an activist litigator. “We expect her to do her job and find that the evidence presented to Los Angeles Sheriff’s is probable cause to immediately charge and prosecute Ed Buck in spite of his whiteness, wealth, and her political ambitions.”
Lacey, who is up for re-election next year, became the first woman and first black American to serve as L.A. County’s district attorney in 2012. Still, the civil lawsuit filed against her in February claims her office “refused to prosecute Mr. Buck because he is white, and because Mr. Moore was Black,” and “because he is a white man who has donated generously and consistently to elected members of Los Angeles County.” The case moved to federal court in May. Attorneys filed an amended complaint to that suit earlier this month, accusing Buck of human trafficking and engaging in revenge porn.
In 2012, Lacey received a $100 donation from Buck. Her campaign consultant told FOX News last year that “D.A. Lacey does not know Mr. Buck and she has returned the contribution.”
Jasmyne Cannick, an L.A.-based political strategist who launched the ‘Justice 4 Gemmel + All Of Ed Buck’s Victims’ drive, has demanded Lacey prosecute Buck for murder. She explained to NBC News that black, gay “lives are seen as expendable,” adding, “it’s very easy to write off someone who dies of a drug overdose who was working as a sex worker.”
“It may not be pretty, but white gay men taking advantage of young Black men in our community is not unusual - it’s just not talked about in mainstream America,” Cannick, who is black and openly gay, continued.
Black Lives Matter’s L.A. chapter has led recurring protests drawing attention to Lacey’s unwillingness to prosecute police officers involved in shootings. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors signed on with a political action committee that has prioritized replacing Lacey with a “reform-minded” prosecutor. Cullors has met with San Francisco D.A. George Gascón to discuss a possible challenge to become L.A.’s top law enforcement official. He issued a statement last month indicating that he is weighing that option.
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @JeffreyCawood.