Ed Buck, a prominent major donor to Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, was arrested Tuesday and charged with operating a drug house.
Buck had been the focus of attention previously after two black men died of overdoses at his West Hollywood, California, apartment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“I remain deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators,” Jackie Lacey, the Los Angeles County district attorney, said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
“With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.”
“Using the bait of narcotics, money, and shelter, the defendant lures these vulnerable victims to his home. From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes. These fetishes include supplying and personally administering dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims,” court papers filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Buck was charged with three counts of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house.
In the latest incident at his residence, Buck is accused of injecting a 37-year-old man with methamphetamine on Sept. 11. The man survived.
However, two other men — Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55 — had overdosed on methamphetamine in the apartment and died. Buck was not charged in those deaths.
“Not deterred by the senseless deaths of Moore and Dean, the defendant nearly killed a third victim last week,” court papers said.
The documents filed in court said that the individual who overdosed on Sept. 11 had visited Buck on Sept. 4, at which time Buck “personally and deliberately” gave the man a large dose of methamphetamine. On that occasion, the man left to get help. On Sept. 11, court documents said, he returned to the apartment and was given two doses of methamphetamine. He again fled, but this time called 911.
“The full scope of his consistent malicious behavior is unknown,” court documents said of Buck. “It is only a matter of time before another one of these vulnerable young men dies of an overdose.”
Jasmyne Cannick, a political consultant and spokeswoman for Moore’s mother, said that Buck had previously received special treatment because of his political connections, and also because he was white and those who died in his apartment were black. Officials have denied those allegations
“Today is like a celebration for us,” she said as she and others stood outside Buck’s apartment after his arrest.
“I feel vindicated for all the people who said it was never going to happen. I feel really good for all the young men he took advantage of because they didn’t feel like anyone took them seriously, like their lives weren’t important enough for anyone to really care about,” she said.
Cannick said she called family members of the two men who died and “we were all crying.”
“We’re just completely ecstatic,” she said. “Black gay men’s lives matter. The whole black LGBT community is going to be celebrating this evening because our lives matter, and people need to know that. Even if we’re sex workers, even if we’re on drugs, even if we’re homeless, we’re still part of the black community, still part of the LGBT community.”
If convicted on the charges, Buck could face a sentence of up to five years and eight months in prison.
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