WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com/AP) — Homicide detectives are investigating circumstances surrounding the fatal drug overdose of a 26-year-old man at the West Hollywood home of prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Monday that while coroner’s officials ruled Gemmel Moore’s death an accident, officials are following up because of additional information. He declined to elaborate.
Initial investigations did not flag anything suspicious, Capt. Chris Bergner said, but the new probe was launched out of abundance of caution.
Coroner’s office spokesman Ed Winter said Buck, 62, was inside the Laurel Avenue home at the time of Moore’s death and that drug paraphernalia was found at the scene.
Seymour Amster, an attorney representing Buck, told the Los Angeles Times that his client had “nothing to do with this young man’s tragic death”.
Moore, whom Amster said was a “good friend” of Buck, was found alone in a bathroom at the residence with the door shut.
The Times also reported obtaining a document described by a “family friend” as Moore’s journal which includes accusations made by Moore against Buck – a document Amster says is an “unverified writing”.
Buck, a former candidate for the West Hollywood City Council who has served on the Stonewall Democratic Club Steering Committee and has made sizable donations to the California and L.A. County Democratic Party, did not return calls seeking comment.
The Stonewall Democratic Club Steering Committee last week requested Buck’s resignation in the wake of Moore’s death, according to The Times.
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon told The Times her son worked as a male escort and used drugs, and says he was homeless shortly before his death.
In a video posted to YouTube, Nixon pleaded for law enforcement to get involved, saying the public is “turning a blind eye” to Moore’s death because he was a “gay black man” and Buck is a “wealthy white politician”.
“I’m wondering why wasn’t Ed Buck held accountable for the California Drug Dealer Liability Act,” says Nixon in the video. “I would like exposure into the underground of this meth epidemic that’s going on in West Hollywood.”
Buck made headlines in 2010 when he disrupted California Republican Party gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s campaign event and was confronted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who campaigned on Whitman’s behalf.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)