An attorney representing the family of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. said a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles will go forward even though key witnesses are afraid of retaliation if they testify.
The suit, which was scheduled for jury selection June 21st in U.S. District Court, accuses the Los Angeles Police Department of covering up former officer David Mack’s involvement in the rap star’s 1997 murder.
It also claims the LAPD ignored that officers were hanging out with gang members while moonlighting as security guards for B.I.G.’s record label,
B.I.G.’s family dropped Mack and his college classmate, Amir Muhammad, from the case in mid-June. Both had been accused of conspiring to kill the performer.
That decision followed a paid informant’s admission in civil court that his statement about corrupt police officers and rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight plotting to kill B.I.G. was mostly “hearsay.” The informant also described himself as a paranoid schizophrenic.
The City of Los Angeles is now the lone defendant in the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Perry Sanders said dismissing the alleged conspirators from the case hasn’t weakened the family’s claim, even though he described the lawsuit as “a difficult circumstantial case.”
“This case is now focused solely on the LAPD,” he said. “They are the people charged with preventing and solving homicides such as this, even if it means looking at some of their own dirty laundry.”
The attorney claims that witnesses’ recent bouts of “amnesia” are because they fear whoever killed B.I.G. will come after them.
Notorious B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was gunned down in March 1997 following a music industry afterparty in Los Angeles. The murder came six months after rival Tupac Shakur was killed.