LOS ANGELES (FOX 11) - The mother of a man who died at the West Hollywood home of Ed Buck in 2017 filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the prominent Democratic donor today, while also accusing the District Attorney's Office of failing to prosecute Buck because he is white.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges wrongful death, sexual battery, hate violence, drug-dealer liability and negligence against Buck, while accusing the District Attorney's Office of violating the civil rights of Gemmel Moore, who was found dead in Buck's apartment on July 27, 2017.
The coroner's office ruled the death of Moore, 26, an accidental methamphetamine overdose.
Buck's attorney, Seymour Aster, could not be reached late Tuesday for comment, but he told NBC4,
"We'll fight the allegations vigorously. We haven't seen the lawsuit, but we've done our investigation and there's more to the story than is being told. If necessary, we'll tell the full story in a court of law."
Moore's mother, LaTisha Nixon, filed her lawsuit on the same day a group of activists delivered thousands of petition signatures to the District Attorney's Office calling for Buck to be prosecuted not only for Moore's death, but for the apparent overdose death of another black man, 55-year-old Timothy Dean, at Buck's apartment on Jan. 7.
"Our hope is that this lawsuit will bring some modicum of justice for Gemmel and all of Ed Buck's victims," Nixon's attorney, Nana Gymafi, 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."
Buck has been a prominent donor to Democratic candidates and office holders. He has been active in LGBTQ political circles and also once ran for a seat on the West Hollywood City Council.
In its civil-rights allegations against the District Attorney's Office, the lawsuit contends the office permits "policies or customs" of declining to prosecute white men for crimes against black men. The lawsuit claims Buck was not prosecuted for Moore's death "because he is white, and because Mr. Moore was black."
District Attorney's Office officials could not be reached late Tuesday for comment. When the office declined last year to prosecute Buck, prosecutors noted in a charge-evaluation worksheet the evidence is "insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (Buck) is responsible for the death of Gemmel Moore. Likewise, the admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that suspect Buck furnished drugs to Gemmel Moore or that suspect Buck possessed drugs."
Calls for Buck's arrest soared following Dean's death at Buck's apartment in January. Responding to those calls, the District Attorney's Office released a statement saying it "has been in communication with detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Due to the pending investigation, we decline further comment at this time."
Dean's death remains under investigation.
CNS contributed to this report.