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Ed Buck investigation: Man found dead in activist's home was 55-year-old African American

Ed Buck investigation: Man found dead in activist's home was 55-year-old African American
Following Gemmel Moore's death, mourners gathered to protest his death. (Los Angeles Times)

The person found dead in the West Hollywood home of Democratic activist Ed Buck was a 55-year-old African American man, but authorities have not released his identity as the investigation continues.

It marked the second time in two years that a black man has been found dead in Buck’s home under suspicious circumstance, and that has led to community protests.

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Buck’s attorney has denied his client did anything wrong. Seymour Amster said Buck, who is white, is cooperating with investigators.

“From what I know, it was an old friend who died of an accidental overdose, and unfortunately, we believe that the substance was ingested at some place other than the apartment,” Amster said of the latest death. “The person came over intoxicated.”

Sheriff’s officials would not say whether narcotics were involved.

“We gathered several pieces of evidence to examine and analyze,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Bergner.

Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood station responded to the Laurel Avenue apartment complex at 1:05 a.m. Monday in response to a report of a person not breathing, the department said in a statement. At some point, the 911 caller performed CPR, the department said.

Some community activists protested Monday night outside Buck’s apartment, accusing authorities of not doing enough in the first case and demanding more action.

Paramedics pronounced a man dead at the scene. The cause of death was not yet known.

Buck previously was investigated for the death of another black man, the 2017 overdose of Gemmel Moore, 26.

Moore died of a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s apartment, according to a Los Angeles County coroner’s report. Paramedics found Moore naked on a mattress in the living room, which was littered with drug paraphernalia, the report said.

Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon of Texas, and his friends questioned whether Buck’s ties to elected officials and differences in race and class influenced the investigation and whether the drugs that killed Moore were self-administered.

Moore had been homeless and had worked as an escort.

The coroner ruled Moore’s death an accident, and an initial review by sheriff’s deputies found nothing suspicious. But the following month, homicide detectives launched a new investigation.

Prosecutors this summer declined to file charges against Buck, 64, citing insufficient evidence.

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