The leader of an advocacy group demanding high-profile Democratic donor Ed Buck be charged with murder has partnered with a deep-pocketed civil rights group to amplify that call.
Los Angeles-based media strategist Jasmyne Cannick announced on Friday that she had joined forces with Color of Change, which describes itself as “the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.” It has led progressive digital campaigns targeting Glenn Beck, Facebook, and the reality television show “COPS.”
They collaborated to produce a web video launched late last week urging L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to prosecute Buck, who is white, in connection to the deaths of two black men who overdosed on crystal meth inside his West Hollywood home 18 months apart. The passings brought attention to a dark side of gay culture that most politicians and LGBT leaders don’t like to discuss, such as the use of “party drugs” among homosexual men.
The video is more than ten minutes long, referring to Buck as a “serial predator.” It features Cannick and her attorney, Nana Gyamfi, both allies of Black Lives Matter who speak for an advocacy group called “Justice 4 Gemmel + All Of Ed Buck’s Victims.” The duo recounts their version of events, accusing Buck of administering the lethal doses of meth that killed both men.
“Ed Buck is that cruel, sadistic, slavemaster who knows that he has the power to do whatever he wants to do to black people,” said Gyamfi, an activist litigator who represents the mother of Gemmel Moore in a civil lawsuit. The 26-year-old sex worker was found dead in Buck’s apartment on July 27, 2017. Prosecutors announced last summer that the admissible evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Buck was responsible.
Cannick and Gyamfi went on to criticize the D.A. and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, saying in the video they had warned law enforcement that another dead black man would turn up at Buck’s residence if he was not stopped. The storyline then shifts to the death of Timothy Dean, a 55-year-old fashion consultant and former adult film performer who died there in January.
A web page sponsored by Color of Change encourages visitors to sign an online petition demanding Lacey charge Buck with a crime, claiming he “is preying on Black gay men in Los Angeles.” It says he has donated more than $500,000 to Democratic organizations and politicians, stating, “Ed Buck has even given money to DA Jackie Lacey,” referencing a $100 contribution from 2012 that she returned. It continues: “We cannot allow local prosecutors, like DA Jackie Lacey, continue to ignore these atrocities against Black LGBT communities.”
Lacey, a two-term incumbent, is up for re-election next year.
Color of Change is part of a broad coalition of criminal justice reform advocates dedicated to electing progressive prosecutors. That alliance includes billionaire George Soros and his international grantmaking network. Soros has given Color of Change at least $450,000 in the past four years, while his Open Society Foundations reportedly donated another half million. According to USA Today, Facebook apologized to the group in November “for a Facebook consulting firm attempting to link Color of Change to … Soros, the subject of far-right anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” It has also received significant funding from other pillars of the institutional left, such as the Ford Foundation.
Cannick helped organize a gathering outside Buck’s rent-controlled, two-bedroom apartment on Saturday, memorializing the second anniversary of Moore’s death. Demonstrators held signs marked with the Color of Change logo that read, “Black Queer Lives Matter” and “DA Jackie Lacey: Prosecute Ed Buck.” As WEHOville reported:
Tonight’s rally featured 16 people, almost all African-American, carrying signs condemning Buck and Lacey while standing just below Buck’s second-floor apartment, whose windows were covered with cloth. It was not clear whether Buck was there although his air conditioner was running.
According to CBS2 Los Angeles, homicide detectives presented D.A. Lacey with the results of the investigation into Dean’s death several weeks ago. The report said her office is currently deciding whether to file criminal charges.
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @JeffreyCawood.