From the Homicide Files: Notorious B.I.G. Not a Cover-up

July 6, 2001

From the Homicide Files: "Notorious B.I.G. – Not a Cover-up"
Los Angeles – In the past, much has been speculated and printed in the media regarding the March 9, 1997 murder of Rapper "Notorious B.I.G.", also known as "Biggie Smalls" or Christopher Wallace. The Department, in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation, has declined all media requests for interviews regarding specifics of the on-going murder investigation. Speculations and opinions regarding the investigation of this case, abound. In fact, the Department has learned that an upcoming story will be broadcast this weekend, regarding the "Biggie Smalls" murder investigation.
While the Department will continue to not discuss specifics of this investigation, there are some issues of importance that must be noted:
A major impetus of the criticisms regarding the Department’s handling of this investigation is based on information received by an individual by the name of Russell Poole. Russell Poole is a former Los Angeles Police Department Detective who voluntarily resigned from the Department approximately one year after he was removed from his assignment with the Rampart Investigation Task Force, for his involvement in an off-duty personnel matter. He subsequently filed suit against the Department, seeking unspecified monetary damages for violation of his civil rights. Mr. Poole made numerous allegations against the Department, some of which included cover-ups by the Department regarding the "Biggie Smalls" investigation. The Department, in a statement issued on September 28, 2000, denied the allegations, stating that they were utterly false. On June 19, 2001, United States District Court Judge Steven Wilson, granted a motion for a Summary Judgement for the defendant [City of Los Angeles and LAPD], denying plaintiff’s [Russell Poole] claims.
Many of Mr. Poole’s claims regarding the "Biggie Smalls" murder investigation were featured in a recent issue of a national magazine. It should be noted that Mr. Poole was one of several investigators who have been assigned to this case. Contrary to previous reports by Mr. Poole, his prepared reports were never discarded or ignored but rather, were edited of all conjectural materials and inferences that could not be factually substantiated. While much of what Mr. Poole has stated may be interesting reading material, at best, the Department cannot make an arrest or submit a case for filing based on inferences that cannot be proven; information for which there is no supporting evidence. To knowingly do so would be irresponsible and constitute a violation of the law. Subsequently the information edited from Poole’s reports, along with other documentation, was submitted to prosecutorial agencies, which included the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office and the State Attorney General’s Office. The Department has not discarded any of the materials it has acquired as a result of this investigation.
One of the many implications made by Mr. Poole includes the notion that former officer David Mack was involved in the murder of "Biggie Smalls". This was based on the fact that a Chevy Impala SS, similar to one identified as being involved in the murder of the victim, was located at the residence of Mack. The fact of the matter is that as a result of the Department’s exhaustive investigation, we have identified other Chevy Impala SS vehicles that could potentially have been involved in the murder. However, to date, we have not been able to come up with substantial evidence, linking any of these vehicles to the crime.
Another of the statements made by Poole is that ". . .he received an anonymous call from a tipster who suggested that Gaines [a former LAPD officer] should be looked at as a suspect in the March 9th killing of Biggie Smalls. That call was one of the main reasons that Poole agreed, on April 9th, 1997, to take over the Smalls murder investigation." This claim by Poole is absolutely false and is but another example of Poole’s many misrepresentations. Poole’s representation is ludicrous and is not representative of the manner in which Robbery-Homicide Division [the division to which Poole was assigned during the time he was an investigator on the Small’s murder investigation] assumes primary investigative responsibility of a case, from the Area in which the crime occurred. In the instant case, the decision for RHD to assume investigative responsibility was made after discussions between the commanding officers of RHD and Wilshire Area Community Police Station. Such decisions are made based on established criteria. One such criterion is when it is evident that continued investigation of a case would inundate the local Area and drain their resources.
It should be noted that Poole is one of many who have opinions on this case; opinions that are speculative and void of factual data. A major local newspaper, a few months ago, based solely on speculation and without any supporting evidence, printed a feature article identifying a particular individual as the suspect in the murder of "Biggie Smalls", only to later have to retract its story.
The investigation into the murder of "Biggie Smalls" is on going and the Department remains committed to conducting this investigation in a professional and thorough manner. If and when an arrest is made in connection with this investigation, it will be based on credible evidence. It will be based on probable cause and in accordance with the law.
This press release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.