Lead Story West Edition

Immunity granted in overdose death probe

LOS ANGELES — The county District Attorney’s Office reportedly has granted immunity to several people who have information that may relate to the death of a gay black man who died of a drug overdose in the home of a prominent Democratic donor.

The announcement of immunity was made by Nana Gyamfi, a human rights attorney who provided legal counsel to the men and presented their information to the district attorney for consideration. The district attorney’s office declined to comment on the investigation or the terms of the immunity.

Gemmel Moore was found dead in the bathroom of Ed Buck’s West Hollywood apartment on July 27. At the time of his death, Moore was working as a gay male escort. Buck is a successful businessman who has made major contributions to support the campaigns of elected officials at the local and national level.

Since Moore’s death, several black gay black men have come forward to accuse Buck of coercing them into ingesting dangerous amounts of methamphetamine and in some cases, injecting them with drugs while they were unconscious, according to Moore’s mother LaTisha Nixon and political and social activist Jasmyne Cannick, who is assisting Nixon in uncovering the details of her son’s overdose.

Many of those men told Nixon and Cannick that they had tried in the past to file police reports against Buck, but their complaints were not taken seriously by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Others were hesitant to come forward with information on Buck for fear that they would be arrested for prostitution, drug-related charges or other charges based on their statements.

At an August West Hollywood City Council meeting, Nixon pleaded for immunity to be granted to men with information related to her son’s death.

“I just want you guys to please put pressure on whoever needs pressure so that these people can get immunity,” Nixon said. “So that I can get justice for my son.”

According to Gyamfi, immunity from prosecution is granted on a case-by-case basis by the county district attorney’s office and, depending on the information, may not be necessary. People who want immunity for statements or information should seek legal counsel.

Gyamfi said she hopes that the granting of immunity to these individuals will encourage others to come forward as well as broaden the investigation of Buck and establish a pattern of criminal behavior.

“Getting more victims to come forward about Ed Buck could provide important insight and evidence about Buck’s double life as a top Democratic donor whose friends include Los Angeles’ political elite and as the man who picks up vulnerable young black gay men off of the streets and online and forcibly injects them with crystal meth,” Gyamfi said.

Thus far, Buck has not been named as a suspect in Moore’s death and has not been accused of any crime.

Moore’s family and friends have launched a website in an effort to reach any one who may have information related to the circumstances of Moore’s overdose. Justice4Gemmel.com was established as an information portal to assist homicide detectives and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office in their investigation.