Black men, meth and two deadly cases: 5 things you should know about Ed Buck
Prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck is in the news again since it's been confirmed that the second Black, gay man to die in his home OD'd on meth. But there's more to know about him
This week the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the cause of death for the second man found dead in democratic donor Ed Buck’s home was a methamphetamine overdose.
According to NBC News, Timothy Dean, 55, died on Jan. 7, making him the second person who was found dead in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment within two years. Another man, Gemmel Moore, 26, died in Buck’s apartment in July 2017. L.A. County prosecutors declined to charge him in that case. But detectives are reportedly continuing their probes into the similarities of each incident.
Still, so far Buck remains unindicted and no criminal charges have been handed down.
Both deaths were ruled as accidental overdoses, but as protestors and the families of the two young men continue to speak out, people are starting to ask, “Who is Ed Buck?”
Below are five things we’ve learned about him so far.
He used to be a conservative Republican
Buck is a former West Hollywood City Council candidate and a well-known figure in LGBT political circles in Southern California, known for being a vocal activist.
Although he is often identified as a “Democratic donor” and has contributed to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, former California Gov. Jerry Brown, and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti – back in the day, he was actually a conservative Republican.
According to the Los Angeles Times: “Buck became a nationally known figure in the late 1980s when he led the successful effort to impeach Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham. Buck, who then described himself as a conservative Republican, set up shop in a downtown Phoenix office, where he hung a piñata effigy of the governor, seeded the recall movement with $5,000 of his own money and turned it into a full-time job. Upon learning Buck is gay, Mecham declared him a “militant homosexual.” Buck responded: ‘He’s right. So what?'”
Wasn't Ed Buck a Republican when he was trying to evict Evan Meacham from the Arizona governor's mansion?
— Dean Barnett RN (@DARSB1) January 8, 2019
He is said to have a fixation on Black men getting high off meth
Preston says during a club retreat in 2016 she was standing outside the resort one day when Buck – whom she only knew in passing – decided to join her. After a few minutes of small tack, Preston says Buck suddenly pulled out his phone and started playing a video of a young Black man smoking methamphetamine.
Unbeknownst to Buck, Preston is a recovering meth addict and immediately recognized what she was looking at.
“He was really fixated on the video. … He didn’t break away,” she recalled to the Los Angeles Times. “He just kept looking, and he just had this awkward smile, and he said, ‘He’s gorgeous.'”
Today would have been Timothy Dean's 56th birthday.
I just wrote the LA Sheriff's Dept. and asked for update on the death investigation at Ed Buck's home.
Pictured: 30,000 petitions delivered to the DA seeking prosecution of Buck last month. pic.twitter.com/Z5jbKY3H58
— Kate Sosin (@shoeleatherkate) March 25, 2019
Writer Jasmyne Cannick has been warning us about him for a while
Even though two Black men were found dead in Buck’s home within an 18 month period, writer Jasmyne Cannick says his list of alleged victims far exceeds what any of us could have imagined.
In 2018 Cannick posted a warning on her Twitter that it would only be a matter of time before another man lost his life while feeding Buck’s dangerous sexual proclivities.
“If another young, Black gay man overdoses or worse dies at Democratic donor Ed Buck’s apartment it’s going to be the fault of the sheriff’s dept and L.A. District Atty for not stopping him when they had the opportunity to,” Cannick wrote on Twitter in late July.
If another young, Black gay man overdoses or worse dies at Democratic donor Ed Buck’s apartment it’s going to be the fault of the sheriff’s dept and L.A. District Atty for not stopping him when they had the opportunity to. #GemmelMoore #Justice4Gemmel pic.twitter.com/jlbS2KTvNe
— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) July 28, 2018
After Moore died from a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s apartment in July of 2017, Cannick contacted Moore’s friends and family, and discovered they’d found a rather detailed journal among his possessions. In the journal the 26-year-old outlined how Buck got him hooked on meth and drugged him against his will.
In the last year Cannick has conducted interviews with several men who said that Buck offered them money to let him administer an injection of crystal methamphetamine into their bodies, which is the most dangerous way to take the drug.
All of her reports are published on her personal website along with pictures and videos taken by the men inside Buck’s apartment. She asserted that the 65 year old is a “predator” who preys on Black men who are going through tough times and need financial assistance.
He’s had several restraining orders put out against him
Buck is alleged to have a notoriously volatile temper and as a result there have been several restraining orders put out against him in the last decade or so.
Former West Hollywood City Councilmember, Steve Martin used to be a good friend and ally to Buck, but says over time he noticed that his buddy was becoming increasingly problematic in his behavior.
“It was clearly obvious after 2007 that this guy had a serious personality disorder,” Martin told WEHO TIMES, noting that his “erratic and unpredictable,” behavior led many fellow activists to suspect he was on drugs.
“Everyone knew it,” Martin contined. “It’s bulls**t if they say they didn’t. It was like a family; you know, everyone in the family knew it. There were people who embraced it and they were, frankly, members of city council. They knew Ed had a lot of problems; they knew Ed was a controversial member of the community.”
Two (confirmed) deaths, still no arrest
The most dumbfounding thing about the Buck case is that despite the apparent growing list of evidence against him, and the bodies that have been found in his home, he still continues to evade arrest.
Men who have managed to escape from him are now coming forward to share their firsthand accounts of what it’s like to have dealt with him.
According to The Daily Mail, Jermaine Gagnon claims Buck paid to fly him from Minnesota to his apartment in Los Angeles, drugged him by dissolving a substance into his Gatorade and then injected him with drugs.
Gagnon says he was homeless and couch-surfing in April 2018 when he met Buck on the gay dating site, Adam4Adam and was offered $200 to spend the evening with him at his West Hollywood apartment.
“I had done sex for money other times but I don’t make it a habit,” said Gagnon.
“It was just kind of weird,” he admits, explaining that the 63-year old enjoyed dressing him up and treating him like a sex slave.
Gagnon said during this first meeting he smoked crystal meth with Buck who was open about the fact that he liked entertaining men who were, “Young, Black, handsome and well-endowed.”
“He was quite open about being very generous to the Black community,” he said. “I’m his type and pretty much half of the Black community is his type – vulnerable, depressed. If you’re in a depressive state, that’s the energy that feeds him.”