By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
The murder of rapper the Notorious B.I.G. was orchestrated with the help of corrupt Los Angeles police officers, a new documentary alleges.
Last Man Standing, from British filmmaker Nick Broomfield, features what is claimed to be new evidence proving the involvement of law enforcement in the death of the artist also known as Biggie Smalls.
Its title refers to Suge Knight, the once all-powerful record executive now serving a 28-year prison sentence for manslaughter.
The documentary examines the theory Knight commissioned the 1997 murder Smalls, who was born Christopher George Latore Wallace, in retaliation for the earlier killing of Tupac Shakur, another hip hop superstar who was shot dead the previous year during the highly publicised East Coast–West Coast feud.
It claims corrupt LAPD officers were moonlighting at Knight’s Death Row Records and helped orchestrate the second hit.
It features witnesses who say they saw the officers present on the night of 24-year-old Wallace’s drive-by murder on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles.
Broomfield, who made 2002 documentary Biggie & Tupac, said aspects of the killing suggested police involvement rather than a gangland shooting.
He told the PA news agency: “I think that does involve members of the police force. It’s a very significant murder, it was an incredibly neatly executed murder, which didn’t have any of the signs of a gang killing, which is typically spraying a car with bullets.”
New York-born Wallace was shot four times while in the front passenger seat of a Chevrolet Suburban after leaving a Soul Train Music Awards after-party at about 12.45am on March 9.
The assailants fired a 9mm pistol from a dark-coloured vehicle before speeding off.
Last Man Standing says the bullet entry holes show the accuracy of a trained shooter while questioning why the killer was able to escape such a busy area without being apprehended by the police.
No-one has ever been charged with murders of Shakur or Wallace.
Broomfield said he returned for a follow-up documentary after Biggie & Tupac because he was “pissed off” about what had happened in the years since.
Russell Poole, a former LAPD detective who for years said his fellow officers were involved in Wallace’s killing, died aged 58 in 2015 while still trying to solve the case.
Broomfield said he was disappointed a lawsuit from Wallace’s mother, Voletta, against the LAPD for the rapper’s wrongful death was dismissed in 2010.
And a rival documentary’s “ratty little theory” that a close friend of Knight, Wardell “Poochie” Fouse, was the triggerman “really got my goat”, Broomfield said.
“Now you had half of America believing in something that was clearly not true,” he told PA.
“That was my motivation. I was fairly annoyed by what had happened and I just felt Russell deserved something better and so did Voletta and so did the Biggie estate. They deserve some kind of closure.”
The LAPD was approached for comment.
The film is on general release in select cinemas from July 2nd.