The city of Los
Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department have been ordered to pay the family
of Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” for withholding evidence about
the rap star’s murder.
A mistrial was
declared in the case by U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper on Thursday
(July 7), after it was revealed that an LAPD detective withheld documents critical
to the Wallace family’s argument that LAPD officers may have played a
role in the murder of Notorious B.I.G.
before this trial began we held a press conference and made clear that this
trial was intended to hold the LAPD accountable,” the family told AllHipHop.com
in written statement today (July 8). “We made clear this family didn’t
want any family to ever have to go through what they have been through. Little
did we know at the time what dark secrets lurked in the desk drawers of homicide
detectives and little did we suspect that so many lies would be told under penalty
drawer the family refers to is that of LAPD Detective Steven Katz. The city
argued that Katz forgot about critical documents in his desk drawer until a
search of his office last month, a notion the judge rejected.
The documents in
Katz desk drawer contained information that could link former LAPD officer Rafael
Perez and former LAPD officer David Mack to the murder of Notorious B.I.G.
The documents revealed
that an informant in prison with Perez told the LAPD in 2000 and 2001 that Perez
acknowledged working for Death Row Records on the night of the murder and that
he placed a call to Mack shortly before Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down.
supports the Wallace family’s theory that Perez and Mack hired and helped
Mack’s college roommate Amir Muhammad gun down Notorious B.I.G. after
a Vibe Awards after party at the Petersen Automotive Museum on March 9, 1997.
[Katz] acting alone or in concert with others, made a decision to conceal from
the plaintiffs in this case information which could have supported their contention
that David Mack was responsible for the Wallace murder," judge Cooper said.
Katz’ claim that he “forgot” some of the documents “utterly
unbelievable” and “very disturbing.”
The city was ordered
to pay lawyer fees and costs incurred as a result of the LAPD’s misconduct.
The Wallace family
claims that LAPD officers moonlighted as security for Death Row Records and
arranged Notorious B.I.G.’s murder at the behest of Death Row CEO Marion
Despite an uncanny
similarity to the composite sketch drawn by witnesses of the shooter and Amir
Muhammad, Muhammad has never been charged with a crime and repeatedly denied
being involved in the murder.
LAPD said they would investigate Katz’ mis-conduct, while the family will
re-file a federal RICO lawsuit against the LAPD and will name former officer
Rafael Perez as a defendant.
Perez and Mack
– who is from Compton - first started working undercover together in the
streets of Los Angeles.
In October of 1993,
Perez and Mack were involved in shootout with a Los Angeles crack dealer. An
internal investigation cleared Perez and Mack of any wrong doing and awarded
the men, despite eyewitness claims that the drug dealer was unarmed.
In August of 1995,
Perez became part of the LAPD’s now infamous elite CRASH (Community Resources
Against Street Hoodlums) unit. Perez ended up serving prison time for stealing
over six pounds of cocaine from a prison locker room and is a central figure
in the notorious Rampart scandal, one of the biggest police corruption scandals
in U.S. history.
In 1999 Perez’
testimony led to the arrest of four officers and put almost 100 others under
investigation. Perez testified that officers planted evidence, sold drugs, beat
and even murdered suspects.
According to reports,
Perez and Mack were well known for their lavish lifestyle but were both in financial
Mack was convicted
of robbing a Bank of America branch in 1997 for over $700,000 and refused to
reveal to authorities what he did with a portion of the money.
Perez, Mack and
Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight have repeatedly denied involvement in the
murder of Notorious B.I.G.
During the trial,
Wallace family attorneys produced previously sealed documents that revealed
Knight allegedly told an informant he conspired to kill Wallace.
Also, Fred Miller,
the detective who headed up the investigation of Notorious B.I.G.’s murder,
testified that Knight was the #1 suspect, not Perez and Mack.
detectives searched through 400 clues after the murder, but still could not
close the case.
Perez and Mack
were labeled as “scumbags” yesterday (July 7) by LAPD Police Chief
William Bratton, but Bratton denied allegations that the LAPD deliberately withheld
During the civil
trial, a number of interesting allegations came forth. One suggested that former
LAPD Police Chief Bernard Parks may have had a personal interest in covering
up the murder and the police corruption.
claimed a photograph of Parks’ daughter with Perez and Mack was found
in the home of Compton gang member.
In September of
1998, Parks’ daughter was charged with selling 20 grams of cocaine to
an undercover officer in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Parks denied any
involvement or any notion of a cover up and Wallace family attorneys did not
produce the photo during the trial.
Perez has denied
all allegations and has threatened to sue the Wallace family for malicious prosecution
if they file a lawsuit against him.