Ed Buck, prominent Democratic donor and LGBTQ activist, was arrested Tuesday and charged with running a drug house after a 37-year-old man overdosed on meth at his West Hollywood home last week.
Buck now faces several charges, including three counts of battery causing bodily injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The mega-donor is accused of injecting the man with methamphetamine at his apartment Sept. 11, causing him to suffer a non-fatal overdose.
In court documents, prosecutors painted Buck as a “violent sexual predator” who uses drugs, cash and shelter to prey on vulnerable men with addiction issues.
“I remain deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. “With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.”
Last week’s overdose is strikingly similar to prior incidents involving two men — both African-American — who also OD’d at Buck’s home but didn’t survive.
The first man, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, was discovered dead in July 2017. Moore’s death was initially ruled accidental, however the case was later reopened after additional information from the victim’s family. Still, prosecutors ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge Buck with a crime.
The activist’s second victim, 55-year-old Timothy Dean, died from meth and alcohol toxicity on Jan. 7. His death was also ruled accidental — despite an autopsy report showing Dean died at least 15 minutes before anyone called for help.
“From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes,” officials wrote. “These fetishes include supplying and personally administering these dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims … not deterred by the senseless deaths of Moore and Dean, the defendant nearly killed a third victim last week.”
Court documents say the latest victim, identified as Joe Doe, visited Buck’s apartment Sept. 4 where the donor “personally and deliberately” injected him with a large dose of methamphetamine. The victim fled the home to seek medical help, concerned that he was suffering an overdose.
According to prosecutors, the man returned Buck’s apartment on Sept. 11 and was again injected with two large doses of methamphetamine, triggering an overdose. This time, Buck reportedly thwarted the victim’s attempts to get help.
The man was eventually able to leave the apartment, fleeing to a nearby gas station where he called 911. He was transported to a hospital for treatment.
In their investigation, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recovered hundreds of photos taken inside Buck’s “drug den” of men in compromising positions, court documents state.
“It’s only a matter of time before another one of these vulnerable young men dies of an overdose,” prosecutors wrote.
News of Buck’s arrest was cheered by LGBTQ advocates and others who’ve long called for charges against the Democratic donor.
“Another man O.D.’d at Ed Buck‘s house and he has FINALLY been arrested,” writer Torraine Walker tweeted.
“F–k Ed Buck and the system that protected him for this long,” writer George M. Johnson chimed in. “Black queer lives are not disposable.”
Pop culture critic and commentator Jasmyne Cannick, who was involved in the push to bring Buck to justice, sent this emotional tweet: “Y’all I’m a bit overwhelmed right now. This has been two years of my life fighting for this man to be arrested. Let me get it together.”
Prosecutors have recommended that Buck’s bond be set at $4 million.
His first arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 18. If convicted, Buck faces up to five years in state prison.
The incident remains under investigation.
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