Attorneys for the family and estate of Timothy Dean, a 55-year-old fashion consultant, who died of a crystal meth overdose in California Democratic major donor Ed Buck’s West Hollywood home on January 7, 2019, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court. Filed with the court on January 7, 2020, just one year after Dean’s death, this is the second wrongful death lawsuit filed against Ed Buck involving crystal meth overdose deaths at his home. The lawsuit is seeking damages against Ed Buck for wrongful death, sexual battery, drug dealer liability, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and hate violence.
“The civil lawsuits seek to remedy the actual racial and sexual injustice that Ed Buck perpetrated,” explained attorney Hussain Turk, who also represents the Moore family in their lawsuit against Buck. “The wrongful death lawsuits fill in the substantial gaps created by the inadequate federal and state criminal complaints, neither of which directly addresses Ed Buck’s racism or his alleged intentional killings of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean. The civil lawsuits are important because they seek to hold Ed Buck specifically accountable for engaging in racially- and sexually-motivated hate violence against Black gay men. These cases are not just about furnishing drugs that resulted in deaths and grievous bodily injuries—these cases are colored by the racial identities and social positions of the victims and the perpetrator. Ed Buck didn’t just hand out drugs that resulted in the deaths of Mr. Moore and Mr. Dean—Ed Buck deliberately and exclusively used drugs to commit disgusting acts of race-based sexual violence against a specific demographic.”
“These lawsuits will not bring back Gemmel Moore or Timothy Dean,” added Jasmyne Cannick who has led the fight against Ed Buck since 2017. “What they are is a small way for the families to achieve justice. They also send a message to the other Ed Buck’s in Los Angeles that they too can wind up just like Buck.”
On September 19, 2019, Buck was charged with two counts of the distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death. The criminal complaint also confirmed the disturbing pattern activists called law enforcement’s attention to where Mr. Buck exchanged drugs and money for sexual favors. They have cited at least 11 victims in the last two years, including one who said he left Mr. Buck’s apartment after overdosing and called 911.
Speaking at a vigil held for Dean on Jan. 7 in West Hollywood, Mark Chambers, a close friend of his reflected, “Tim is very dramatic, very loving, very caring. No one’s perfect, and he didn’t try to be. He was just Tim. To have him taken away in such a public way — this is something that we will live with forever. There are media people out there who will go after what Tim did instead of who Tim was… This man was loved.”
Gemmel Moore was found dead of a crystal meth overdose in Ed Buck’s West Hollywood home on July 27, 2017. Moore’s death was immediately classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the coroner. On July 26, 2018, the District Attorney’s office, under the leadership of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey assisted by Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum, declined to file charges against Ed Buck in connection with Gemmel Moore’s death, citing insufficient evidence. Dean died almost six months later in Buck’s apartment.
Buck’s trial on his federal charges is set to start Aug. 4. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has still not filed any criminal charges against Buck in the deaths of Moore or Dean.