A New Film Will Show The Conspiracy & Cover Up Of Who Shot Biggie (Video)
Yesterday (May 21), The Notorious B.I.G. would have turned 46 years old. Due to violence and tragedy, that never got to happen. On March 9, 1997, 24-year-old Christopher Wallace was fatally shot in a drive-by outside The Peterson Auto Museum in Los Angeles, California.
While Biggie’s murder remains unsolved, there are two famous and published investigations from former LAPD detectives assigned to the case at different periods. This year, the USA network aired Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. The dramatic series stars Josh Duhamel playing the real-life retired detective Greg Kading. Kading’s findings—including recorded audio confessions (published as Murder Rap, and a corresponding documentary) began with the investigation into the murder of Biggie and led him to its relation to a shooting that fatally wounded Tupac Shakur six months prior (September 7, 1996).
Ironically, September 7 is the day City Of Lies will open in theaters. This dramatic account is related to Detective Russell Poole’s investigation of the Biggie murder and its ties to the Rampart Scandal. The film stars Johnny Depp and Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker. Depp plays Poole, who died of a heart attack in mid-2015. Poole worked with author Randall Sullivan on the 2001 text, LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G, the Implication of Death Row Records’ Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal. City Of Lies is directed by Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, Runner Runner).
The film’s first trailer released. It portrays “Poole” (Depp) and journalist confidant “Jack” (Whitaker) looking for answers in the murder of a Rap legend. In the preview, viewers can see the visual recreation of the early morning shooting. There are also vignettes that show the man some witnesses identified, Harry Billups (aka Amir Muhammad), and an unrelated road rage incident that may have been a fire-starter event in Poole’s findings.
City Of Lies also dramatizes elements of the Rampart Scandal, a late ’90s LAPD internal investigation that implicated misconduct of more than 70 officers. The infractions ranged from assault to bank robberies around Los Angeles. Poole’s investigation connected several of those Rampart officers, including Mack, Kevin Gaines, and Rafael Perez, to Death Row Records and its affiliated security company, Wrightway. Rampart was first tied to the record label after Gaines was killed in a road-rage-related shooting with another officer just days after Biggie’s murder. Elements of the scandal were an inspiration for the award-winning 2001 Antoine Fuqua picture, Training Day.
Poole retired in 1999, reportedly in protest to what he stated was a police force cover-up at the hands of Chief Of Police Bernard C. Parks. While suing the LAPD for challenging his 1st Amendment rights to speak about the case, he later appeared with Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and close friend/protégé, Lil’ Cease, in Nick Broomfield’s Biggie & Tupac film. Even as a private investigator after his police career, Poole asserted that his findings were accurate, and he decried a lack of action in solving Biggie’s murder in a courtroom. Just months ahead of his death, Poole spoke with VICE of some new and controversial theories surrounding Tupac Shakur’s 1996 murder.
The two differing investigations (Poole’s work suggests Billups is Biggie’s killer, while Kading’s report alleges that a since-slain childhood friend of Knight and Death Row Records affiliate named Wardell “Poochie” Fouse pulled the trigger) are playing out on public screens large and small, almost simultaneously.
City Of Lies is the latest in a film and television swarm this past year looking at the lives and deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, as well as Death Row Records. Earlier this year, Whitaker co-produced (with Pharrell Williams and others) Roxanne, Roxanne, a biopic on Queens, New York MC Roxanne Shanté.