After a second black man was found dead of a drug overdose in the home of wealthy, white Democratic donor and West Hollywood resident Ed Buck, activists showed up in front of his apartment building to protest what they see as the protection of white privilege that prevents Buck from being arrested in connection with the deaths.
Buck, 64, is a gay man who is rumored to be in the business of offering young black men money for their company. Prior to his death in Buck’s apartment in July 2017, Gemmel Moore told friends and wrote in his diary that Buck had a penchant for drugging young black men in his home.
On Monday, news broke that 55-year-old Timothy M. Dean was found dead in Buck’s apartment. Activists staged an action in front of Buck’s home later that evening, where they were met with news crews, cameras and reporters. Among them was Kacey Montoya, a reporter for KTLA News in Los Angeles.
As activists expressed their dismay about a second black body being found in Buck’s home, Montoya interrupted them to say that the situation was “not about race.”
Jasmyne Cannick, a public-affairs and media-strategy professional who is also an activist in the community, was one of those in attendance. She told The Root that emotions were high that night in front of Buck’s home.
She said with the situation already tense, Montoya centered herself in the protest and became very vocal and opinionated about what was going on.
Cannick said she “seemed to be making the story about herself and her feelings.
“She started engaging with people in a negative way,” Cannick told The Root.
Many in the crowd felt that Buck’s neighbors may be somewhat complicit in their silence about the events. They felt the neighbors should have been at least a little suspicious—especially after the death of Gemmel Moore—seeing black men going in and out of Buck’s apartment all the time.
“Kacey Montoya started arguing with a lot of the people outside. The attention shifted to her and she just wouldn’t let it go,” Cannick said. “There was a lot of back and forth between her and the people in the crowd.” (The Root reached out to KTLA to get a response from Montoya and will update if they do.)
When activists confronted Montoya about her statements and told her that it wasn’t her turn to speak when black people were advocating for black lives, she became more upset.
One activist told her that it was people like her who were enabling Buck and making him feel comfortable, and Montoya responded by saying “People like me? That’s why people are racist.”
“Her comment is a very odd comment for an unbiased reporter to make,” Cannick said. “Everyone who was out there was understandably upset about the deaths of Gemmel and Timothy. People are confused, they already were after Gemmel, and now we have a second man dead. People are questioning why white privilege matters more than the lives of black people.
“We are all clear that as black people, if we had one person dead from a drug overdose in our home, we would be in trouble, Here is a white man who has now two dead bodies in his home because of drug overdoses, and he is still a free man.
“If you are reporting the story, you can’t be the story, The way Kacey was acting, it seemed as though she was a resident of the building or a friend of Ed Buck’s,” Cannick said.
Monday, Jan. 14, would have been Gemmel Moore’s birthday. His mother will be in town, and activists are planning another action in front of the home of Ed Buck.
“Hopefully his mother won’t come across the Kacey Montoyas of the world,” Cannick said.