Journalists are expected to remain neutral as they expose the facts of history, even when their biased or exposed facts lead them in certain directions.
Asmin Kannick, an activist, journalist and political strategist in Los Angeles, says reaching the criminal justice system to investigate the mysterious deaths of two black men at the home of an influential white Democrat donor required a tough fight and a balancing act. He had to rely on his uncompromising sense of right and wrong, his unwavering commitment to social justice, and in particular to black people, as well as the instincts of his investigative reporting over the years.
In July 2017, Cannick received a tip from then-LA Weekly writer Dennis Romero about his story. Emel Moore, 26, was found dead from an overdose of a crystal method at the home of 63-year-old Ed Buck, a business and political activist.
Moore’s death was considered an accidental overdose, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office did not investigate.
“Beyond journalism, serious action և strategy would be needed to launch a homicide investigation,” Kannik said. “Forcing these politicians to return their money, forcing the DA to prosecute, was a tactic developed outside of journalism.”
Knowing the details of the case, Kannik says he was aware of how the complex interaction of race, class, sexuality and politics could affect how the authorities treated the case. Moore was a black, gay man who spent time starving on the streets of Los Angeles, where Buck began chasing him.
“As journalists, there are stories that will really reach you. “You want to do more about it because you realize that a deep mistake is being made.”
Kannik, who has more than 20 years of journalism experience, started broadcasting. She says she is proud to have won the trust of the community she serves.
“I made a name for myself by talking about difficult issues. Whether it was homophobia in the black community, racism or politics, I just wanted to have real, honest conversations without being fake. You need to earn people’s trust. You also have to be consistent. ”
Kenick contacted Moore’s parents and later published pages in the magazine describing his relationship with Buck. The notes described how Baku forced him to take drugs. Moore also shared stories of sexual violence.
The magazine’s news prompted other men to go forward, share similar meetings with Baku over drug abuse.
Following the publication of Moore’s Magazine and the creation of national media outlets, the Los Angeles area began a formal investigation into the murder.
“When I realized this was a behavior, he was not going to stop until he was stopped,” Kannik said. “The man was doing his white thing. He knew that no one would question him for surviving sex workers, starving men, and addiction. That is also part of the problem. When victims tell you what happened to them, you have to believe them. Believe in them, as they were white women. ”
Despite the testimony of the victims, Los Angeles County Attorney Jack Eckie Lacey refused to file a criminal case against Baku.
Kannik said that for some time it seemed that Baku’s privilege կապ ties with powerful people were going to save him. Then came the turning point.
On January 7, 2019, 55-year-old Timothy Dean was found dead at his residence in Baku, where apparently there was an overdose, where Moore was found dead almost 18 months ago. Public outrage over Dean’s death prompted Kannik and other defenders to try to hold Baku accountable. Despite pressure from the two families of his victims and their supporters to investigate the second death in his home, Buck continued his predatory behavior.
A third overdose involving 37-year-old Eu Doi, a 37-year-old man, took place at Bucky House. But Dow survived and was able to report it to the authorities.
On September 17, 2019, Buck was arrested and charged with drug trafficking and providing Doha with methamphetamine. The following month, Baku was indicted by a grand federal jury for crimes, including drug distribution, and the death of Moore and Dean.
After a series of delays due to the COVID-19 epidemic, on July 27, Baku pleaded guilty to nine charges and is now awaiting sentencing. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Kenick says the road to sentencing Baku was difficult, emotionally exhausting, but he never lost faith that justice would be done.
“A lot has happened in the last four years,” Kannik said, referring to illness and death among his family and friends.
“We all do this work as a passion for love. This is not a job that pays our bills or anything. We all had things to do, but we still did, despite everything that was happening in our lives. I’m so happy I never fell. “
After some time, Kenik says he intends to write a book about the Baku ordeal. His goal is to secure the trial’s perspective on the victims of Baku with a deeper shared truth.
“One of the really important things for me is that white people do not steal this story from us,” Kenik said. “They have a really bad habit of doing such things. There are already three films there. I am determined that this will not happen. No one but me will tell my story. ”
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