Connect with us

Los Angeles

Gemmel Moore family files wrongful death civil lawsuit

“wrongful death, sexual battery, drug dealer liability, premises liability, negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress and hate violence”

Published

on

Gemmel Moore and his mother LaTisha Nixon. (Photo Nixon’s Facebook page)

A lawsuit filed Monday, February 25 in Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles accuses LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy DA Craig Hum of failing to prosecute a West Hollywood, Calif. based progressive political fundraiser and part-time LGBTQ activist in part because he is a white male of privilege.

LaTisha Nixon, the mother of 26 year old Gemmel Moore, who had died of a methamphetamine overdose July 27, 2017 at the Laurel Avenue apartment of Ed Buck, filed the wrongful death suit on her own behalf as his mother/parent and as a ‘Successor In Interest’ under California law as there are no representatives for Moore’s estate.

Protests were touched off by a ruling of an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the office of LA County Medical Examiner-Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas, followed by a decision by LADA Lacey to not file charges and prosecute Buck in the Moore case.

According to the coroner’s report, Buck’s apartment where Moore died was littered with drug paraphernalia and that LACFD paramedics found Moore naked on a mattress in the living room with a “male pornography movie playing on the television.” The report also noted that the drug was injected into his body.

The LA Sheriff’s Robbery-Homicide Commander, Captain Chris Bergner, told the Los Angeles Blade that an initial review by his investigators who were dispatched found nothing suspicious.

Less than a month later in mid-August, a community Black civil rights activist and blogger from Culver City, Calif., Jasmyne Cannick, published the contents of Moore’s journal- providing portions to LA media outlets, which led to Moore’s mother and others questioning whether the drugs that killed him were self-administered. These questions based on his (Moore’s) journal entries describing his relationship with Buck,

Bergner said that his detectives reopened their investigation and then submitted their findings to the DA’s office. Nearly a year later to the day of Moore’s death on July 26, 2018, Assistant Head Deputy DA Craig Hum ruled that there was insufficient evidence Buck had administered the lethal dose or in fact provided the methamphetamine to Moore. As a result the DA’s office declined to charge and prosecute Buck in the case.

Ed Buck’s apartment complex front door. (Photo by Troy Masters)

The ensuing media publicity and outrage, especially from members of LA’s Black and Queer communities in the Moore case was further exacerbated, when on January 7, 2019, a second Black man, Timothy Dean, 55, was also found deceased in Buck’s apartment – the same apartment in which Mr. Moore died less than 18 months earlier.

The death investigations have also touched off a political firestorm for West Hollywood city council members and the city’s former Mayor John Duran, a criminal defence attorney, who has previously represented Buck. The Black and Queer activist communities demanding Duran step down from his seat on the city council.

The acting captain of the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Substation, Lt. William (Bill) Moulder, told council members at the Monday March 4, council session that LASD Robbery-Homicide detectives were actively still seeking statements and witnesses in the separate death investigations of Moore and Dean.

He said that Dean’s cause of death has not been released, and LASD officials have put a security hold on Dean’s autopsy pending toxicology results.

In answer to a further inquiry from Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath, Moulder said that there were no further details or updates.

However, West Hollywood City Attorney Mike Jenkins interrupted Lt. Moulder, telling the council that he and other city officials had met with Los Angeles County sheriff, Alex Villanueva the previous week and in conversations the Sheriff confirmed that Robbery-Homicide detectives in agreement with the LA DA’s office had also reopened the case of Moore and were seeking further witnesses.

Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, says that he and his client “categorically deny each and every allegation and look forward to litigating this matter in court.”

Ed Buck speaks at a 2011 rally in West Hollywood. (Photo from Buck’s Facebook page)

The lawsuit is asking for unspecified financial damages to be determined at trial along with
damages against Ed Buck for wrongful death, sexual battery, drug dealer liability, premises liability, negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress and hate violence.

“Our hope is that this lawsuit will bring some modicum of justice for Gemmel and all of Ed Buck’s victims,” said Nana Gyamfi, human rights and criminal defense attorney and co-counsel for Nixon said in a statement.

“Gemmel cries out to us in his journals and his words to family and friends to hold Ed Buck accountable for his torture and death at Ed Buck’s hands. There is an aspect of this lawsuit that is about holding Ed Buck accountable in the language that he as a wealthy political donor understands—money.

Ed Buck can never fully compensate Gemmel’s mother and his family for hurting and killing Gemmel as we have alleged, but as a wealthy donor, it is only fitting that he take the funds he uses to influence politicians like Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to atone for his crimes against Gemmel.”

Reporting by the staff of the Los Angeles Blade and wire service reports and Troy Masters.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Los Angeles

Black AIDS Institute appoints Toni Newman as interim CEO

As Toni Newman steps into her new role at BAI, she will be one of only a few Black Trans women to head a non-profit in the nation

Published

on

Toni Newman (Blade file photo)

LOS ANGELES – The Board of Directors of the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) announced the appointment of Toni Newman as its Interim Chief Executive Officer and Dr. Kemal M. Atkins as Managing Director this past week.

Newman is currently the Interim Executive Director at LYRIC – a non-profit in San Francisco, California that focuses on advancing the community and creating social change for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth through education, career training and health advocacy. 

Dr. Atkins has been engaged to help further build infrastructure and management processes at BAI. Dr. Atkins, who will serve as a consultant on a temporary basis, has an extensive background in higher education and non-profit leadership where his expertise in crisis management, such as leading institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expertise in building national wellness health models will provide much-needed program direction for BAI.

Founded in 1999, the mission of BAI is to stop the AIDS epidemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals to confront HIV. In its mission statement, the organization states that “BAI envisions a world where all Black people are free and flourishing without HIV and AIDS, free of stigma and shame, where Black health and well-being are paramount. With a foundation in advocacy and policy work, BAI works towards improving the health and wellness of Black people through research, community efforts, and clinical work.

As she steps into her new role at BAI, she will be one of only a few Black Trans women to head a non-profit in the nation.

Ms. Newman is a distinguished Faculty Member at the Transgender Strategy Center in Los Angeles, where she advises non-profit organizations on engagement with transgender and nonconforming communities. In addition, she is the Chair of the Board of Directors for TransCanWork based in Los Angeles.

“Ms. Newman has a wealth of knowledge in non-profit management, budget and finance, and human resources and operations,” BAI stated in its statement. “We’re excited that she has agreed to serve as our Interim CEO as we continue implementing our transition plan to find a permanent, innovative executive staff leader.”

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

LGBTQ+ ally City Councilman Kevin de León announces run for mayor

De León currently represents Council District 14 that takes in the predominantly Latino neighborhoods of Boyle Heights and El Sereno

Published

on

Kevin de León from campaign advert (Screenshot via YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – Standing in front of a group of enthusiastic supporters Tuesday at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León announced that he was joining the mayor’s race for next year’s city elections.

Councilman de León, a Democrat, is the third city elected official to announce his intention to seek the mayor’s chair after current Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was elected for a four-year term in 2013 and again in 2017- who’s limited to serving no more than two terms, was picked by President Joe Biden to serve as the U.S. ambassador to India on July 9, 2021.

Born in Los Angeles of Guatemalan and Mexican descent, raised by a loving, hard-working single mother, de León, 51, got an education and spent 12 years in Sacramento, rising to become the President Pro Tem of the California Senate, authoring and passing legislation and making history. It was his bill that then Governor jerry Brown signed into law making California a “sanctuary state”—a law that was upheld by a federal appeals court.

In an August 2018 interview with former Los Angeles Blade Editor Karen Ocamb, he reflected on his relationship with the LGBTQ+ community.

“I’ve always been very close to the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) community even before I even knew all the initials that keep growing,” de León says with a laugh during an extensive phone interview with the Los Angeles Blade. “It’s always been my core set of values that every human being deserves a real opportunity to succeed, regardless of who they love and regardless of the hue of their skin and regardless of their legal status. That is embedded in my DNA.”

De León learned to care about LGBT people as a child from his mother and aunt around the kitchen table.

“My mother got a third grade education and my aunt even less,” he says. “I was very young and they were talking about a gay friend, a colleague of theirs. I didn’t understand. Obviously, they didn’t understand themselves. But they spoke with such affection, such tenderness. And here were two immigrant women with limited formal education and the way they spoke so lovingly, tenderly, beautifully about their gay friend. I could deduce the person they were talking about was gay—they kind of spoke in code around me when I was just sitting there listening to them at the kitchen table. And it transcended ethnicity and legal status and poverty—that we’re all human beings and we deserve dignity and respect. That had an ‘Ah Ha’ impact.”

De León’s LGBT education continued as he picked his mother up from her work as a housekeeper at convalescent homes. “She had quite a few gay colleagues with her and I just remember they were just so beautifully nice with my mother and my mother with them and that had a huge impression on me of the universal values of treating everybody with dignity and with respect. So when there is a discriminatory blow against anyone in the LGBTQIA community, I feel that blow equally.” 

De León, 54, is by far the most prominent Latino running. Fluent in Spanish, he represents a district that takes in the predominantly Latino neighborhoods of Boyle Heights and El Sereno, as well as much of downtown, where a development boom has fueled huge growth over the past decade, KTLA reported.

Two other candidates — Councilman Joe Buscaino and City Atty. Mike Feuer — have been campaigning for several months. The race also features two business leaders: Jessica Lall, who heads the downtown-based Central City Assn., and real estate broker Mel Wilson, who has been involved with several San Fernando Valley business groups.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Hermosa Beach Pride Lifeguard Tower is here to stay

“The rainbow tower is beautiful and has become a symbol of this community’s love and support for LGBTQ rights,” said Supervisor Hahn

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

Hermosa Beach — Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is announcing that the Pride Tower in Hermosa Beach is here to stay.  The 13th street Los Angeles County Lifeguard Tower, which was painted rainbow in June, was originally meant to be repainted its original blue color at the end of summer.  The rainbow paintjob will now be permanent. 

“The rainbow tower is beautiful and has become a symbol of this community’s love and support for LGBTQ rights,” said Supervisor Hahn, whose support paved the way for the project. “None of us wanted to see it painted over and I am proud to announce that the Pride Tower is here to stay.”

The idea to paint the tower originally came from lzzy Bacallao, a local non-binary teen. Izzy, who uses the pronouns they and them, was responding to the burning of rainbow-painted Pride lifeguard tower in Long Beach in March. The rainbow-painted tower was unveiled at the Hermosa Beach Pride event June 26, 2021.

The new Pride Tower’s rainbow paintjob will be maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors which maintains all LA County Lifeguard Towers.   The Department of Beaches and Harbors also maintains another permanent Pride tower in Venice. 

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular