Heavily redacted FBI documents released Wednesday suggest LAPD involvement in the unsolved 1997 murder of rapper Christopher Wallace, the Notorious B.I.G. — but do nothing to resolve the case.
One 2002 document supports allegations that police — including some of those invoved in the Rampart scandal — helped carry out and cover up the killing.
But the records seem to amount to a dead end, and do nothing to resolve the question of who killed Wallace, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls. No one has been charged in the murder, and a federal judge last year dismissed a lawsuit by Wallace's family accusing the LAPD of concealing officers' involvement.
The Los Angeles Times reported in 2005 that the FBI closed the case after learning that its lead agent, Philip J. Carson, had discussions with attorneys for Wallace's mother and had been subpoenaed to testify in her lawsuit against the city.
One document released Wednesday noted that the FBI closed its investigation in 2005 after federal prosecutors decided not to prosecute anyone in connection with the murder or any alleged cover-up by Los Angeles Police Department officers.
Still, the documents will fuel and refuel many of the long-held theories about the case.
"Because of the professional manner in which the Wallace murder took place, it is alleged that not only could one gang member [redacted] Mob Piru Blood not pull this off but it would have taken a large contingency of people/officers," the 2002 report said.
The documents are almost comically edited to provide as many tantalizing clues and as little hard information as possible. The report above states:
"LAPD Officer [redacted] and other alleged LAPD Officers were Mob Piru Blood gang members who worked with and affiliated with Death Row Records. When Tupac was killed, it is alleged by many that Wallace was killed in retaliation and that this was orchestrated by [redacted], his good friend [redacted] and other LAPD Officers that [redacted] associated with."
Despite the edits, the records again raise links between the Rampart scandal, the Mob Piru Bloods, and Death Row, which was engaged at the time in a vicious rivarly with New York-based Bad Boy Records, Wallace's label.
Wallace has long been rumored — but never proven — to have been killed in retaliation for Death Row icon Tupac Shakur's murder in 1996.
Among those mentioned in the documents is Kevin Gaines, an LAPD officer shot and killed by an undercover officer on March 18, 1997, nine days after the murder of Wallace, who also went by Biggie Smalls. The investigation into his shooting led detectives to discover he had been living with Sharitha Knight, the estranged wife of Death Row founder Marion "Suge" Knight.
The investigation also led to the discovery that Gaines and other police officers were moonlighting as security for Death Row, and helped expose the corruption in the LAPD's Ramparts Division.
The hundreds of pages of FBI documents cover from 1997 to 2005. Though they contain no breakthroughs, they do provide Biggie obsessives with many minor, intimate details of his life: He died in size 48, bloodstained Karl Kani jeans, size 13 Timberlands; and a size 54 Bernini sweater. And he was carrying an asthma inhaler, marijuana, and three Magnum condoms.