Washington, DC – The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS, stands in solidarity with the family, friends and local Los Angeles, California community in demanding accountability and justice regarding the death of Gemmel Moore.
On July 27, 2017, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore was found dead in the apartment of 63-year-old Ed Buck (born Edward Bernard Peter Buckmelter), a prominent white gay man and Democratic donor. The LA County Coroner immediately ruled Gemmel’s death an accident caused by an overdose of methamphetamine. However, after pages of Gemmel’s journal were published and 19 days later, the LA County Sheriff’s Department initiated a homicide investigation.
Gemmel wrote in his journal: “I pray that I can just get my life together and make sense. I help so many people but can’t seem to help myself. I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worse one at that. Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth. It was very painful but after all the troubles I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy…”
Gemmel’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, has also demanded that the LA County Sheriff’s Department conduct a full investigation after learning about Buck’s history of luring young Black men to his apartment and pressuring them to use drugs for his pleasure.
“The untimely and tragic death of Gemmel Moore is heartbreaking, and at a time when the country is standing against sexual predators in Hollywood, it’s also important to ensure that we stand with young Black men who can become victimized and blamed for their own death. We must do more to unpack and understand the deadly fetishization of disenfranchised black men,” said David J. Johns, NBJC Executive Director. “A number of young Black men allege that Mr. Buck is a crystal meth addict who lured them to his home and coerced them into allowing him to inject them with drugs. We now are hearing directly from Gemmel Moore’s family that the LA County Sheriff’s Department is stalling the investigation while Mr. Buck continues to use popular gay dating websites to continue to lure young Black gay men over to his house to fulfill his fetish needs including using crystal meth. This is unconscionable, and we at the National Black Justice Coalition are demanding justice for Gemmel and his family. We also demand that the local law enforcement use all available resources to ensure Mr. Buck is not able to target young Black gay men on the Internet.”
“I need the community’s help,” said LaTisha Nixon. “They are trying to push my son’s death under the rug. They’re not taking my son’s death seriously or the other victims who have come forward. Not the sheriff’s department, the district attorney or the politicians he’s donated to that are supposed to represent the best interests of the people. This isn’t right. Ed Buck is preying on young men like my son—young, Black, gay and vulnerable. My son may not have been a white woman and Ed Buck may not be Harvey Weinstein, but Gemmel’s life mattered and so do the other young Black gay men Ed Buck has taken advantage of. My son and all of the young men who have stepped forward deserve justice.”
In the aftermath of Moore’s death, his family and advocates from both local and national civil rights communities came together to develop the Justice4Gemmel + All of Ed Buck Victims Campaign. This campaign requests that felony criminal charges be filed against Buck. It is also working to ensure elected officials, who accepted campaign donations from Buck, disavow him and return his donations to a fund dedicated to help individuals who have been victimized by him—all of whom happen to be young Black gay men and some of whom are HIV positive. The campaign has spurred a Color of Change petition making similar demands of federal elected officials. U.S. Rep Karen Bass (CA-37) was the first to return Buck’s donations, and the Stonewall Democrats donated to Moore’s funeral after Buck resigned as a member of the group.
“All Black Lives Matter,” said Jasmyne Cannick, former NBJC boardmember and a co-founder. “Not just the Black lives killed by the police. Not just when it’s advantageous to say Black Lives Matter in an effort to appear progressive. Not just the Black lives we deem respectable—but all Black lives. When white women are violated, America responds and the response is immediate. The violation doesn’t have to come attached to criminal charges, lawyers don’t have to vet the accuser’s entire background, there aren’t editorial meetings where stories are canned because the victims are the wrong color, wrong sex, and in the wrong tax bracket and because editors are worried about their friends in elected office being embarrassed. The violation doesn't even have to be true. Just the mere allegation from a white woman of her being violated in some sexual way is still enough to bring this country to its knees—and for there to be consequences. The allegations against Ed Buck should be treated with the same seriousness as the allegations made against Harvey Weinstein.”
Johns added: “It’s a sad day in America when we are in the midst of an ongoing national conversation about sexual assault and harassment, and we have a clear case of sexual predatory actions that resulted in a death, that there is deafening silence from so many. NBJC will do all it can to bring attention to this case and to mobilize others in the broader civil rights community to take up the cause of justice for Gemmel and his family. In addition, we will be working to support the Moore family’s efforts to get answers about Gemmel’s death and hold Ed Buck accountable. It is critical that we ensure Ed Buck is unable to harm any additional members of the Black LGBTQ/SGL community. Collectively, we must demand swift and strategic action from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and ensure that the political establishment benefiting from Buck’s campaign donations is doing their part to ensure justice.”
Seymour Amster, Buck's attorney, has forcefully maintained that his client is innocent of these allegations. However, Gemmel’s family, friends and advocates are demanding a full and comprehensive investigation of his death and the allegations made by numerous other young Black gay men. Buck has not been arrested or charged with a crime to date.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ bias and stigma.