Defense attorneys for Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey and her deputies were blasted by a federal judge Monday during a hearing on their motion to dismiss a wrongful death and discrimination suit brought against the D.A.’s office by the mother of Gemmel Moore, who was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose in Ed Buck’s West Hollywood apartment in 2017.
The suit claims that Lacey refused to investigate or charge a white man in the death and sexual abuse of a black man even though Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, provided her with evidence that Buck was a predator who regularly drugged and assaulted black men. Last January, Timothy Dean was also found dead of an overdose at Buck’s home; his family filed suit against Buck and the D.A.’s office last week.
At yesterday’s hearing, Judge Cormac Carney seemed unimpressed with the defense’s denial that bias could be at play, the Daily Beast reports.
“Why didn’t they follow up and bring charges against Mr. Buck?” Carney reportedly asked attorney Farid Sharaby. “Is there anything to Ms. Nixon’s concern that the reason she and others are being told to pound sand is because she’s black? I’m just trying to understand what’s a plausible basis for this—when you have specific allegations of misconduct, but you’re not meeting with these victims? You’re not prosecuting them? Why didn’t they?”
Nixon’s lawyer, Nana Gyamfi, described how her client had allegedly been dismissed and intimidated by the D.A. In February, 2019, she said that after Lacey had publicly acknowledged the many complaints about Buck, she not only turned away Nixon and her supporters when they arrived to meet with Lacey and present her with a 30,000-signature petition demanding an investigation, but sent a goon squad of cops to face her down.
“The way that Ms. Lacey responded to her speaks to the racial animus,” Gyamfi said. “She didn’t just send someone downstairs to say, ‘I changed my mind. I don’t want to have this conversation.’ She instead sent down about 12 sheriff’s deputies, as well as three other people from her office, who indicated that they would not take the petitions and that they would not meet with anyone. When we begged and Ms. Nixon begged for her, at least, to be able to come in… that was flatly refused. Ms. Nixon was treated like a criminal.”
When defense lawyers argued that the D.A.’s office can’t be guilty of bias because it had offered some alleged victims immunity for their testimony against Buck—who is currently in jail awaiting trial on federal and local charges in the deaths of Dean and Moore—Carney remained dubious.
“If you’ll indulge me, put aside the legalese for a moment,” Carney said. “You have pretty descriptive reports of terrible conduct from Mr. Buck—why wouldn’t the D.A.’s Office, law enforcement follow up on that? As a matter of good policing practices, as a matter of public relations. It’s not like general allegations of misconduct. It’s Mr. Buck drugging, video-taping, sexually assaulting, and raping black men. They’re giving you specific names of who this is happening to. And the D.A. says, ‘We’re not going to talk to you.’ I just don’t understand that.”
Carney is expected to rule on the motion later this week.
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