L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey Target of Amendment in Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Ed Buck

District Attorney of Los Angeles County Jackie Lacey speaks onstage at the GUESS and Peace Over Violence press conference for the 16th annual Denim Day at GUESS? Inc. Headquarters on April 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GUESS)

District Attorney of Los Angeles County Jackie Lacey speaks onstage at the GUESS and Peace Over Violence press conference for the 16th annual Denim Day at GUESS? Inc. Headquarters on April 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GUESS)

Attorneys for the mother of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old man who died of a methamphetamine overdose at the home of Ed Buck, have filed an amendment to a wrongful death lawsuit that targets Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy Attorney Craig Hum for failing to properly investigate and charge Buck after Moore’s death in 2017.

Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, filed the lawsuit after Buck, a prominent Democratic donor and political activist, was arrested and charged earlier this month when another man suffered an overdose at Buck’s West Hollywood apartment.

Nixon’s attorneys filed an amendment that included Lacey and Hum, who they said violated Moore’s civil rights in their “race-based refusal to prosecute Ed Buck.”

Latisha Nixon provided this undated photo of her and her son, Gemmel Moore.

Latisha Nixon provided this undated photo of her and her son, Gemmel Moore.

After her son’s death, Nixon and other activists gathered evidence against Buck and attempted to pressure Lacey’s office into filing charges. Buck was not charged at the time, with prosecutors citing insufficient evidence.

Buck was ultimately charged in connection with Moore’s death after his arrest earlier this month, more than two years later.

In that time, multiple other men fell victim to Buck’s predatory behavior, including Timothy Dean, who died of a meth overdose at Buck’s apartment in January, court documents say.

In naming Lacey and Hum as co-defendants, the lawsuit states:

Even after a second black man’s dead body was recovered from Edward Buck’s apartment on January 7, 2019, and after LaTisha Nixon presented the county of Los Angeles with several eye witness statements by black gay men who had been similarly forcibly injected with nearly fatal doses of narcotics by Edward buck, District Attorney Jackie Lacey, and Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum indicated on several occasions that they had ignored Black gay men’s criminal complaints about Edward buck, who has donated generously and consistently to elected members of the county of Los Angeles, including District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Since 2017, Nixon has been openly critical of Lacey for not prosecuting Buck in the face of what Nixon and other activists said was overwhelming evidence, including excerpts from Moore’s journal that said he had become addicted to drugs and “Ed Buck is the one to thank.”

Moore’s last entry reads, “If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”

LaTisha Nixon, the mother of Gemmel Moore, speaks at a news conference on Sept. 25, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

LaTisha Nixon, the mother of Gemmel Moore, speaks at a news conference on Sept. 25, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

Last week, Nixon spoke out after Buck’s arrest, and again called out Lacey.

“Jackie Lacey, she dragged her feet,” Nixon said, adding that she’s grateful federal prosecutors have gotten involved in the case.

“I haven’t heard from anybody,” Nixon said of federal prosecutors. “I don’t plan to press them. I plan to let them do their job, because I trust them a lot more than I do D.A. Jackie Lacey.”

Part of Nixon’s motivation to target Lacey and Hum comes from the discrepancies between the County of Los Angeles’ and the United States’ criminal complaints against Buck.

“The primary discrepancy between these two complaints is that the County’s criminal suit fails to charge Ed Buck for any of the crimes he committed against the numerous Black gay victims that Ms. Nixon presented to County officials over the course of the County’s prolonged and defective ‘investigation.’ Meanwhile, the United States’ criminal suit comprehensively charges Ed Buck for the numerous crimes he committed against nearly all of these Black gay victims,” attorney Hussain Turk said on Nixon’s activist website, Justice4Gemmel.org.

The federal complaint includes eight men who provided similarly harrowing encounters with Buck. The latest alleged victim survived two overdoses in one week before he escaped Buck’s apartment and called for help, which led to Buck’s arrest.

Lacey had said witnesses were reluctant or wouldn’t speak to investigators. Nixon’s attorneys, however, disputed Lacey’s assertions.

They said they accompanied victims mentioned in the criminal complaint to interviews with sheriff’s deputies and provided text messages, photos, videos and receipts of electronic payments Buck made, the lawsuit states.

“Lacey admitted to having no knowledge whatsoever about the criminal reports made by [other victims] that were presented to the County by Ms. Nixon after the death of Mr. Moore,” the lawsuit reads.

“The County of Los Angeles’s misconduct as alleged herein was intentional, malicious, willful, wanton, obdurate, and in gross and reckless disregard of the Constitutional rights of Ms. Nixon, Mr. Moore.”

Along with general damages to be determined at trial, the lawsuit seeks an undetermined amount of punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

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