• New film reveals new findings in the murder of B.I.G.

    In 2006, Los Angeles police detective Greg Kading began investigating the murders of Tupac and the Notorious BIG, later leading a federalized taskforce hoping to solve those cold cases. Their finding were shocking:

    A Mob Piru Blood gang member named Wardell “Poochie” Fouse killed Biggie, they found, and was paid $13,000 by Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight for the task. The key witness this time was the mother of one of Suge’s children, whom Kading calls Theresa Swann, to protect her anonymity.

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    In 2009, before Kading’s team could finish building their cases, Kading was removed from the taskforce, owing to an internal affairs investigation relating to a separate case. He was exonerated, but soon after retired from the department, and the taskforce was dismantled. In 2011, Kading released their findings in a self-published book, called Murder Rap, which has now been made into a Michael Dorsey-directed documentary of the same name, out on iTunes on 2 February. I spoke with Kading about the cases and the film.

    Despite reports to the contrary, there’s no evidence tying Biggie to Tupac’s murder, right?

    Yes, we have absolutely nothing to support the idea that he knew about it or acquiesced to it. Certainly, after the fact it would be reasonable to assume he found out about it, but I don’t have any reason to believe he knew beforehand.

    Do you think Knight ordered Biggie’s murder in retaliation for Tupac’s murder? Was it as simple as that?

    Well, it was an evolution of events. It’s really not simple in the sense that there’s all this stuff going on, on different levels. There’s the Suge Knight/Sean Combs conflict. There’s the Tupac/Biggie conflict. There’s the Crips/Bloods conflict. But, the idea that this group killed this group because of an ongoing set of circumstances: yeah, it’s that simple. It’s complicatedly simple.

    Former LAPD investigator Russell Poole believed crooked cops were behind Biggie’s murder, and that a Nation of Islam member named Amir Muhammad pulled the trigger. Murder Rap sets out to debunk this, but one detail remains hard to reconcile: witnesses described Biggie’s shooter as wearing a traditional Nation of Islam suit and bowtie. What do you make of that?

    That’s always been an area that has not been completely resolved. Since the taskforce was disbanded, we were never able to know if possibly Poochie was a member of the [Nation of Islam paramilitary arm] Fruit of Islam. But we do know that in Los Angeles at this time, gang members were dressing up as Nation of Islam in home invasion robberies and shootings.

    What’s new in the Murder Rap documentary that wasn’t in the book?

    On one of the latter pages of the book, there was a reference to [the car with Biggie’s shooter] being a black Impala, which was an editing error. It should have said a green Impala. In the documentary, we corrected it. We knew Poochie had a car matching that description, and that, reportedly, he received it from Knight when he ordered two custom Chevrolets. We knew Suge’s Impala was a custom color also – black cherry. We tracked the purchase of the green Impala back to a Chevy dealership in Phoenix, Arizona. We got that far. But by the time we discovered this information in 2009, those records no longer existed for us to get a paper trail back to 1995 or 1996 when the car was ordered.

    You’ve said LAPD brass shut down your taskforce. Is there one person in particular who was responsible?

    One of the main influences in disbanding the taskforce and making the decision not to do anything else was a guy named Gerry Chaleff. He was a defense attorney. He was never a cop but found himself in the hierarchy of the LAPD … I’m not saying it was his decision alone but he was very instrumental in the decision not to continue with the case. [A request to LAPD for comment from Chaleff was not returned.]

    Check out the trailer for this documentary:

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