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Estate Of Notorious B.I.G. Taking LAPD To Trial

The Estate of Christopher

"The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace won a decision June 21 to bring a wrongful

death suit against the Los Angeles Police Department, which is accused of being

complicit in the rapper’s murder.

The wrongful death

was filed by Wallace’s mother Voletta and his widow, Faith Evans. The lawsuit

focuses on a former LAPD officer, David Mack, who has been implicated in the

murder.

Mack, a member

of the Bloods street gang, is currently serving a 14-year sentence in federal

prison for robbing a bank. Central to the lawsuit is a concept, “under

color of law,” where a person or persons commits a crime under authority

of the law.

Wallace was gunned

down at an intersection near the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles,

after he attended an after party for the Soul Train Music Awards. Attorney’s

for the LAPD argued that since Mack was off-duty the night Wallace was murdered,

he was not working within his boundaries as an LAPD officer if it is proven

that he committed the crime.

According to a

June 30 judgment, the investigation indicates that Mack had knowledge only privy

to the LAPD, including surveillance information and Wallace’s exit plan

from the after-party, which police frequently review when patrolling large events.

“It appeared

that police radios were used to monitor the location and response of law enforcement

to the shooting, as well as to facilitate escaping after the shooting, concealing

the vehicle, and disposing of the weapon,” Judge Florence-Marie Cooper

said.

Cooper’s ruling

means that Wallace’s estate now has to prove that Mack was “acting,

purporting to act, or pretending to act in the performance of his or her official

duties.”

If that cannot

be proven, the Judge said that Mack could have been acting as a private citizen

and that the LAPD could not be held accountable for his actions.

Cooper also stated

“it is the nature of the act performed, not the clothing of the actor

or even the status of being on duty or off duty, which determines whether the

officer has acted under the color of law.”

Ms. Wallace’s

estate is pursuing a theory by former LAPD detective Russell Poole, who claims

that Mack and another man, Amir Muhammad, shot Wallace on orders from Death

Row CEO Suge Knight, a claim Knight and Muhammad have denied.

"I have stated

from the outset that I have nothing whatsoever to do with any of this,"

Muhammad told the LA Times in March. "I’ve done nothing wrong. I don’t

have anything to hide."

Mack owned a black

impala, similar to the one reported at the scene and a witness reported seeing

him when Wallace was murdered. A driver’s license photo of Muhammad resembles

the police sketch of Wallace’s killer, based on witness descriptions.

One witness even

claims to have seen Muhammad himself outside of the Peterson museum the night

of the shooting. Former LAPD Detective Russell Poole, who advanced the theory,

will testify as an expert witness.

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