LAPD Renews Biggie Probe

The cold case of who killed Notorious B.I.G. is getting another examination by the Los Angeles Police Department – a case that already has 72 volumes of evidence on the LAPD’s shelves.

Police Chief William Bratton has installed a new captain, Kyle Jackson, to take over the probe, according to the Los Angeles Times. Bratton has also replaced lead investigator Det. Steven Katz with six veteran homicide detectives.

The probe comes in the face of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the rapper’s mother and other relatives, who claim police officers were involved in the killing. A judge ordered the city to pay $1.1 million in legal fees and other expenses to the rapper’s family. A new trial in that matter is set for next year.

U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper declared a mistrial in July 2005, ruling that Det. Katz deliberately hid transcripts of an interview with a police informant who alleged the LAPD was involved with the 1997 murder of B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace. Katz said he overlooked the transcripts in a desk drawer, according to the Times.

Investigators have begun to meet with gang experts and informants across the nation, and reinstated a $50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case, the paper said.

“It’s very good that Bratton has brought renewed focus to this case,” City Councilman Jack Weiss told the Times. Weiss is head of the council’s Public Safety Committee. “Hopefully, it will lead to identification of the actual killer or killers. At a minimum, it should provide some definitive reasons to rule out the more outlandish theories that have evolved over the years.”

The Wallace family claims ex-LAPD officer David Mack conspired with Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight to kill Wallace through a college friend of Mack’s. All three have denied involvement.

Wallace, was gunned down while leaving a party at a Los Angeles museum. The investigative team is exploring the theory that Wallace was killed by a member of the Southside Crips as part of a hip-hop feud that involved the slaying of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas six months earlier.