September 12, 2019 at 7:43 pm PST | by Staff reports
Federal Court refuses dismissal in Gemmel Moore wrongful death lawsuit against Ed Buck

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

Attorneys for Ed Buck, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum had filed motions asking a United States District Court to dismiss a wrongful death civil rights lawsuit filed against them in a hearing scheduled for next Monday, Sept. 16.

U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled Wednesday- not granting either motion to dismiss. Those requests by the attorneys for Buck and the District Attorney to toss out the lawsuit in the 2017 meth overdose death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore.

The hearing scheduled for Monday is now canceled.

“The Court’s ruling on the County’s and Ed Buck’s Motions to Dismiss is a huge victory for Gemmel Moore’s mother Ms. LaTisha Nixon,” explained attorney Hussain Turk in an emailed statement to the Los Angeles Blade Thursday. “The Court generously ruled that Ms. Nixon may rewrite portions of her claims against the County so that they more clearly describe the constitutional civil rights laws that the County violated when it failed to properly investigate Gemmel Moore’s death because of his race.

This is a victory because the Court could have–and with these types of cases historically has–thrown out all of Ms. Nixon’s claims against the County without giving her a chance to revise it. This is a victory because it means that the County, District Attorney Jackie Lacey, and Assistant District Attorney Craig Hum are all still very much on the hook for the intentional and discriminatory botched investigation of Gemmel Moore’s death.”

The lawsuit filed on February 25 in Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles and in May of this year shifted to the United States District Court for the Central District of California, 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.

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.

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

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.

According to court documents, Buck is claiming that the lawsuit was filed beyond the time period allowed for this type of litigation. Attorneys for the County of Los Angeles representing the District Attorney and her chief deputy are arguing that will argue that Nixon can’t sue on behalf of her deceased son.

Last March the Los Angeles Blade reported:

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.

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.

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.

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.”

“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.”

 The DA, her deputy, and Buck are not required to attend the hearing.

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