The family of the late Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace), including his mother Voletta Wallace and ex-wife R&B singer Faith Evans, filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department this week, alleging a cover-up of one officer's involvement in the East Coast rapper's 1997 murder.
Opening statements took place yesterday, with one key witness, Kevin Hackie, taking the stand -- only to rescind a critical statement. A former bodyguard for rapper Tupac Shakur, Hackie denied comments attributed to him in June 2004 fingering officer David Mack as a "covert agent" for Death Row Records, home of B.I.G.'s West Coast rival Tupac. He did, however, say that he had seen Mack at several Death Row events, occasionally in conversation with label head Marion "Suge" Knight. Wallace's family claims that a number of LAPD officers had relationships with gang members and sometimes provided security for Death Row.
Hackie, who was an FBI informant during the three years in which he worked for Tupac, also stated that the head of Death Row security, Reginald Wright, had wanted to avenge the 1996 Las Vegas slaying of Tupac, which he believed B.I.G. had masterminded. "We were going to get those [people] who downed 'Pac: Biggie and his crew," Hackie testified, according to reports.
Along with producer Sean "Puffy" Combs (now "P. Diddy") and his Bad Boy label, Brooklyn native B.I.G. recorded his debut, 1994's Ready to Die, and 1997's Life After Death (released weeks after his death), both hit-packed hip-hop milestones. He was killed when shots were fired into his car on a Los Angeles road shortly after midnight on March 9, 1997.