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Last night, police arrested Democratic donor Ed Buck on charges of running a drug house in his West Hollywood apartment and providing methamphetamine to a 37-year-old man who overdosed there last week.
The news came as a relief to those who have called for Buck’s arrest based on two fatal overdoses in his apartment in recent years.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said in a release that Buck is charged with three felonies: a battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine, and maintaining a drug house. He faces a maximum sentence of five years and eight months in prison.
In a motion calling for setting bail of $4 million, prosecutors called him a “violent, dangerous sexual predator” who “mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.”
Prosecutors accuse Buck of luring young Black men—many destitute and suffering from addiction—to his home with promises of shelter, drugs, and money in exchange for taking part in his sexual fantasies, which include injecting them with dangerous quantities of drugs.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, denies the charges against his client, telling CBS Los Angeles that Buck’s longtime friends’ life decisions were to blame, and promising Buck would “vigorously” defend himself.
“This is not a situation where Mr. Buck has caused a death,” Amster said.
Buck, an LGBTQ activist, has donated heavily to Democrats including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Many were grateful for what they saw as a chance for some measure of justice for the alleged victims. Prosecutors’ failure to bring charges following the prior deaths had led many to decry what they saw as a racial issue.
(All three men who overdosed in Buck’s apartment are Black; Buck is white.)
Fuck Ed Buck and the system that protected him for this long.— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) September 18, 2019
Black Queer lives are not disposable https://t.co/tKqPISPxQK
That’s me—crime tape and all in front of Ed Buck’s! Finally!!! This picture going up on the wall in my office tomorrow lol! pic.twitter.com/h1Qm1ICmIk— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) September 18, 2019
OMG They arrested Ed Buck! Finally!— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) September 18, 2019
Ed Buck is preying on the vulnerability of Black queer men in Los Angeles and DA Jackie Lacey is doing nothing about it. RT to to demand justice for Gemmel and Timothy. #StopEdBuck https://t.co/cwWMP4un4V #BlackQueerLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/lrSQizsCun— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) September 15, 2019
Both Buck and the prosecutor’s office are being sued by the family of alleged victim Gemmel Moore, who died in Buck’s apartment in 2017. Last week, a judge refused to dismiss the case.
Buck’s arraignment on the criminal charges is scheduled for today.
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.