LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Were LAPD officers involved in the murder of rap superstar Christopher Wallace, better known as “Notorious B.I.G.”? And if so, did the department try to cover up their involvement?

Fourteen years after the fatal shots were fired, these questions are still being asked.

On March 9th, 1997, Wallace was leaving a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax when witnesses say a lone gunman in a black Chevy Impala pulled up next to him, calmly rolled down the window, opened fire, then calmly drove away.

biggie Ex Investigator: LAPD Cover Up In Notorious BIG Murder

Rapper Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, aka Chris Wallace rolls a cigar outside his mother's house in Brooklyn. (Photo by Clarence Davis/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Eight years later in 2005, a civil trial brought by the Wallace family against the city of Los Angeles exposed evidence hidden by the LAPD that suggests two rogue police officers David Mack and Rafael Perez may have been involved in the murder of the rapper also known as “Biggie Smalls”.

This potentially explosive evidence involves an alleged conversation between former LAPD officers Rafael Perez and Perez’s cellmate in the L.A. County jail.

The federal judge in the case writes that the inmate reported that Perez had told him about his and Mack’s involvement with Death Row Records and their activities at the Petersen Automotive Museum the night of Biggie Smalls’ murder.

Death Row Records was the label behind another rap superstar, Tupac Shakur, who was murdered in Las Vegas just months before Wallace’s death.

The original lead detective investigating Wallace’s murder says Mack and Perez had close ties to Death Row.

Months after Wallace was killed, officers Mack and Perez were convicted for unrelated crimes — Mack for bank robbery, Perez for stealing cocaine and other serious felonies.

According to a newly-revealed court record, Perez’s cellmate told investigators “Perez and Mack were involved in Death Row Records. Perez got involved in Death Row through Mack.”

“They went to all their parties and stuff,” the inmate said.

Investigators say Perez also told the inmate he was at the scene of the Wallace murder.

“Perez was working security. Perez had a cell phone. Perez said he called over to Mack, David Mack on his cell phone. Perez told Mack that Biggie Smalls was in his truck. Perez never said that he set up Biggie Smalls but I have heard that he…had something to do with that murder,” according to the inmate.

Former lead investigator Russell Poole says these statements are just a glimpse into hundreds of pages of documents that were hidden from Wallace family attorneys.

Poole, who resigned from the LAPD in 1999 and alleges an cover-up by the department, says these statements are “crucial” and that the murder must be put into a historical context: first beginning with the Rodney King beating five years prior and the ensuing riots, followed by the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson in 1995.

Poole says in the racially-charged environment surrounding these key cases, the last thing the city wanted was a scandal involving sworn minority officers involved in the assassination of a hip-hop superstar.

Wallace family attorney says money could be another possible reason for any LAPD cover-up.

Officer Perez was on-duty the night of the murder, and if his involvement was affirmed, the city could potentially be liable for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Both Perez and Mack have repeatedly denied any involvement in the murder.

The LAPD says it can’t comment on the case since it is still under investigation — and sources say criminal investigators continue to follow up on new leads in this 14-year-old murder investigation that so far have come up empty.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (38)
  1. Twitter211Guy says:

    Russel Poole is right on the money,across the board!. While working plainclothes armed bank security in South Central during this time period I had a professional interest in Crip,Bloods & Black-P-Stones activities. While monitoring LAPD Tac Frequencies myself and my partner listened to a BOA 211 in progress in Universal City which actually turned out to be a PD Major- Narco Surveillance of the bank which resulted in a pursuit/OIS and death of off-duty officer,entire transmission heard clearly. When this mentioned to our company supervisors & BOA security dept (all retired LAPD) we were told to mind our own business and forget the the whole incident.

    1. Meg says:

      I believe it. The police are notorious for coverups and ego trips anyway.. obviously someone HAS to know what happened to him. Its just ridiculous that its been going on for this long.

    2. Saber 1 says:

      It done society a favor. Who needs that hate filled noise? Nothing but a criminal who’s time was up. Move on to a REAL story.

      1. JAZZYLADY26 says:

        If it werent for people like biggie you folks would’nt have anybody to blame when your young sons turn into gangsters, and your daughters turn into our video tricks.Your own children want to be just like us! and that’s what scares white america. The times have changed, soon you will be our SLAVES !!!!

      2. kwilliams says:

        i hope someone does society another favor and gets rid of people who are as ignorant as you are.

  2. tdd says:

    get real. poole is a fool. he disgraced himself as a detective and tries to write books. he’s not a half bad writer of fiction, but lacks a truthful bone in his body.

    1. Coump says:

      Why is it that he must be a fool? We are so quick to believe the lies that when the truth is revealed, we want to say “a fool, disgraced himself, writer of fiction”. Are u one of those officers that is mad he is talking or a relative of one or just one of those people who stand behind all lies?

    2. Doggle says:

      OMG. The Detective is such a haz bin. I have it on gd authority that he never amounted to much and quit before his retirement because he was incompetent. He had family issues with a missing brother and he was to be accused of being involved in his disappearance. Don’t know if he harmed him, or hid him from the law. Like you really going to believe him now. Whatta putz.

      1. Mike Alerich says:

        Doogie, You never knew the guy but ‘gd authority’ supposedly ‘said’ etc etc,. You had access to his personnel file,inside knowledge of his family matters and insinuate he harmed his brother and hid from the law… really weird.
        Sounds like Suge learned to type,love your last two words.

  3. phillip says:

    The only thing you have to do is go back and look at the phone records of the police officers and get all of the calls for the week leading up to and the night of the murder and see where that leads them. You never know they could have called Suge or anybody while conspiring. Having Biggie killed made no sense unless you were getting rid of your competition. Makes you wonder doesnt it.

    1. RayRay says:

      It was 14 years ago,Im pretty sure theyve upgraded to “newer” phones.

      1. Bruce says:

        new phones are not,that wouldnt change the call records made at that time regardless of whether or not they were older or newer phones….Call records from a 14yo phone wouldnt change when you upgraded to newer phones……It would still show all the calls made back then………..LOL Im pretty sure phillip didnt mean the “last calls made” list that your cell phone shows….He meant the “ACTUAL” call logs from 14years ago………….Police Dept(and most all government offices) keep as well as most major phone companies keep showing all calls made at any certain date… “HERE’S YOUR SIGN” lol

  4. marvred says:

    this is “NEWS”??? everybody knew this 14 YEARS AGO! why does the press use this situation to stir up interest when they dont have anything better to publish. there is no new info. no new leads. just the same story being repeated. help this mans case, or leave him to rest.

  5. Twitter211Guy says:

    Seems like every time this event is mentioned something new pops up; persons of interest keep dying, PO’s retiring, but kept their personal notebooks, jailbirds keep rolling over, wouldn’t it interesting if someone came up with audio cassette tape of PD radio transmissions b/t officers involved that officials deny exist. Now that would make a great movie or special on “60 Minutes”

  6. ROGER JORDAN says:

    I feel that that Mr .Poole was right on track and these two so called officers of the law did it and Suge Knight should be man up to it because sooner or later the truth will come out on how he paid these two to kill Biggie Smalls and he will be in more trouble than he is now and LAPD should tell the truth for the sake of justice and for the sake of Wallace family who lost a father a son and for us who we lost an talented man who is both a role model and rap icon to his community

    1. Frank Nasworthy says:

      THUG LIFE? Role Model?

      1. milomonkey says:

        True Dat!

    2. Meg says:

      Though I agree that “thug life” isn’t exactly deemed as a good role model phrase for the community, I do respect Biggie’s rights as an artist and as a human being… and I completely agree that his family should feel at least at ease that his murders aren’t to go unsolved… (at least in the public eye.) I think that anyone who has lived in the streets or know what goes on underneath the exterior of the skin, if you will, could see truthfully why he could be a role model for others. It is hard to even get a job these days, let alone become a rapper as well known and as talented as Biggie was and always will be.

  7. Casey says:

    Most of this seems like old news, unfortunately. I think Biggie was killed in actuality in order to cover up events surrounding the Tupac Shakur murder. Will we ever know?

    1. Mike Alerich says:

      Of course the truth will come out eventually. In the meantime here’s a couple of questions for persons commenting; What ever happened to Alton McDonald, Manager of Death Row Records & partner of Suge Knight.
      Was Kevin Gaines wearing bodyarmor under his green sweats when he exited the BOA bank in Universal City,under surveillance by LAPD undercover narcs. Was he driving Knights pimped-out Mercury at the time of the shooting and shacked-up with Knights ‘wife’. Why was his death considered “In the Line of Duty” by the PD. What happened to tapes of radio transmissions at the time of the OIS?. Who & why ordered a 24 hour surveillance of Kevin Gaines?.
      This is why this ‘old news case’ won’t go away. Time to lay off the investigator and fill in all the blanks.

  8. Dave says:

    Puffy sure made a lot of money of of Big’s death. Just sayin’.

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