The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a six-year-old theory that a Los Angeles Police officer orchestrated the 1997 shooting death of the Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) on orders from Death Row label head Suge Knight. The murder took place March 9, 1997, outside the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the FBI is investigating the theory that Amir Muhammad, an associate of imprisoned former Los Angeles Police officer David A. Mack, ambushed the Notorious B.I.G. outside the museum while the rapper was seated in the passenger seat of his SUV.
Muhammad, Mack, and Knight have all denied involvement in the murder. Muhammad said, “I have stated from the outset that I have nothing whatsoever to do with any of this. I’ve done nothing wrong. I don’t have anything to hide. Anybody who says they saw me there that night or that I had anything to do with this is a liar.”
When Knight was contacted at Mule Creek State Prison, where he is currently serving time for violating probation, he said, “I don’t know David Mack or Amir Muhammad. I’ve never met them. The FBI has never contacted me, but I’m glad they are looking into all of this stuff. I hope they solve it.”
Damien “D-Roc” Butler, a close friend of B.I.G.’s and Lil’ Kim’s former road manager, identified Mack in a photo lineup. Butler saw Mack standing at the carport of the Petersen Auto Museum moments before B.I.G. was slain. Mack was not on duty that night, because he had taken a series of family sick days. Witnesses described the lone gunman as an African-American with a slender angular face, and Amir Muhammad matched the composite drawing of the killer. In addition, the shooter drove a black Chevy Impala. David Mack owned a black Chevy Impala.
Detective Russell Poole presented this information to his superiors in the Los Angeles Police Department in 1997. According to Poole, Chief Bernard Parks, the head of the Robbery-Homicide Division’s special Rampart task force, instructed him to leave it alone since Mack was already incarcerated for a bank robbery. Mack and two accomplices robbed a Los Angeles bank of more than $722,000 using police scanners and radios. Mack was apprehended, but his two accomplices and the money were never found.
According to the LAPD’s Deputy Chief Michael Berkow, the department is now cooperating fully with the FBI. He said, “This is a joint FBI-LAPD investigation, and the LAPD is cooperating fully.”
The LAPD is also investigating another lead in the case which involves a Houston, Texas rap entrepreneur and a blue 1996 Bentley which was reportedly at the crime scene the night the Notorious B.I.G. was killed.
In related news, the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Notorious B.I.G.’s widow Faith Evans, his mother Voletta Wallace, his son Christopher Jr., and his daughter and her legal guardian against the Los Angeles Police Department (L.A.P.D.), its current chief Bernard Parks, former chiefs Willie Williams and Bayan Lewis, and former police officer David Mack and Amir Muhammad, goes to trial on July 27 in Los Angeles federal court.
The lawsuit alleges that “defendant Parks intentionally, willfully, and recklessly delayed and stopped the investigation as soon as it became apparent officers employed by the Los Angles Police Department were involved in the murder.”
The suit-which also includes several federal civil rights violations-alleges that the L.A.P.D. should have been aware of the heightened tensions between the Notorious B.I.G. and his Bad Boy Entertainment affiliates and their Death Row Records rivals, since some felt that the murdered rapper might have been behind the slaying of his rival Tupac Shakur six months earlier. The suit reads, in part: “Certain persons intimately associated with Death Row Records and an affiliated street gang had consistently exhibited significant animosity toward Wallace and his record label, and blamed Wallace and his record label for the death of Shakur.”
Detective Poole is slated to take the stand as an expert witness for the plaintiffs during the trial.