During an emotionally charged city council meeting Monday, February 4, audience members and protesters demanded answers from city officials into the status of investigations of the deaths of two black males in the North Laurel Avenue apartment of Ed Buck in West Hollywood.
Buck, a white openly gay political donor, has not been charged in either death. In July 2017, Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old black male, died from a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s apartment while last month 55-year-old Timothy Dean suffered from a medical emergency and died.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office told the Los Angeles Blade that a cause of death in Dean’s death had yet to be determined pending further review and toxicology test results.
Although Buck has refused to speak to reporters, his attorney Seymour Amster, has maintained that his client has done nothing wrong.
A spokesperson for LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who took office after the initial investigation into the death of Moore, told the Los Angeles Blade Wednesday that investigators were conducting a second review of his case, as well as a detailed examination of the circumstances into Dean’s death.
During Monday’s contentious city council meeting, LASD’s West Hollywood Station Acting Captain Lt. William Moulder told council members that the investigation is being conducted by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is located in its downtown LA headquarters.
“I can tell you that our homicide bureau, our investigators, have been doing quite a few interviews as late as last week,” Moulder said. “We’re analyzing some evidence that’s been collected. That’s being processed at this time as well.”
In answer to a question from City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, Moulder stated that Sheriff Villanueva has made clear that the department will do a “thorough and objective” investigation into the deaths of both men.
Horvath told Moulder and the audience that the LA County Human Relations Commission and the California Legislative LGBT Caucus have both expressed concerns about the deaths of Moore and Dean.
Nearly 41 organizations—a coalition which includes the LA LGBT Center, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the National Black Justice Coalition, alongside prominent local activists—have called for a more proactive investigation into the deaths.
A Sheriff’s spokesperson told the Los Angeles Blade that interviews continue to be conducted and further evidence gathered.