New Task Force Assigned To B.I.G. Case, Man Connected To Lawsuit Arrested

A

new task force of senior homicide detectives has been created to investigate the

still-unsolved murder of the late Notorious B.I.G.If

new evidence is found, it could strengthen the Los Angeles Police Department’s

claim that its officers had nothing to do with the rap icon’s death, the LA

Times reports.The

launching of the task force comes nine years after B.I.G. was gunned down after

leaving a music industry party at the Peterson Automotive Museum. The

case has generated a host of theories speculating how the rapper (born Christopher

Wallace) and former friend and rival MC Tupac Shakur were killed. No

one has been charged in either slaying.The

LA Times reports that theories being looked at include the possibility

of B.I.G. being killed by a member of the Southside Crips gang as part of a bicoastal

feud linked to Shakur’s death, according to law enforcement sources, who are also

investigating allegations that rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight paid a

Bloods gang member $25,000 to carry out the murder. Knight

was the head of Shakur’s label Death Row Records.Crips

gang members told the LA Times that B.I.G. promised $1 million to the Crips

for killing Shakur. The members further stated that the lyricist and his associates

paid the Crips only $50,000 and stiffed them for the balance. So

the Crips killed him too, the gang members said.A

few months following B.I.G.’s death, police seized a black Chevy Impala from the

backyard of a house in Compton linked to Dwayne Keith "Keefee D" Davis,

a Southside Crips shot-caller.Records

indicate that Davis, who was with a group of Crips in Las Vegas the night Shakur

was slain, was also at the Petersen museum the night B.I.G. died.Although

he was questioned on both cases, authorities did not arrest Davis, who was later

convicted in federal court of drug dealing and sentenced to five years in prison.In

addition to the theories, authorities are checking a home video taken by three

Texas tourists moments before B.I.G. was killed. The trio filmed many of the attendees

at the March 9. 1997 party until about one minute before the ambush.Most

recently, the six-member task force began meeting with gang experts as well as

contacting informants and interviewing witnesses from Compton to Brooklyn. The

group also reinstated a $50,000 reward for anyone with information leading to

a conviction.The

trail of the case led detectives to Houston in June as they interviewed witnesses

and followed up on leads about potential suspects, including rap label head Tony

Draper. Draper,

who headed up Suave House Records, was the owner of a blue 1996 Bentley that is

seen on the tourist video near the crime scene the night of the shooting. Although

he admitted to being at the Petersen party, Draper denied having anything to do

with the crime.LAPD

Chief William J. Bratton and other officials refused to discuss the case, citing

sensitivity to the pending Wallace family lawsuit. Nevertheless, LA City Councilman

Jack Weiss voiced his support of the department’s new efforts."It’s

very good that Bratton has brought renewed focus to this case," Weiss told

the Times. "Hopefully it will lead to identification of the actual

killer or killers. At a minimum, it should provide some definitive reasons to

rule out the more outlandish theories that have evolved over the years."The

months following the murder have been tumultuous for B.I.G.’s family, who are

in the middle of an ongoing wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles.

The suit claims that LAPD officers were connected to the shooting.A

new trial was set for early next year after a mistrial was declared in July 2005,

when U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper discovered documents that implied

LAPD involvement by a police informant were deliberately hidden by a detective.Amir

Muhammad, one of the men named in the suit, was arrested Wednesday (July 26) by

Department of Motor Vehicle investigators on unrelated perjury charges connected

to his possession of four false identifications. He was released on $50,000 bail.He,

along with former LAPD officer David Mack and Knight, has denied taking part in

the killing.

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