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Claim Rejected in Rapper Death Suit

From the Associated Press

The family of the late Notorious B.I.G. lost a bid to expand their wrongful-death lawsuit against the city to include new claims that a rogue police officer was on duty at the site of the killing.

Awaiting a retrial set to begin in January, the family submitted a motion last month alleging that former LAPD Officers David Mack and Rafael Perez, working for Death Row Records mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, were behind the rapper’s shooting death.

The rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was killed March 9, 1997, after a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The slaying has not been solved.

Wallace’s family contends that Perez was at the museum the night of the slaying and tipped Mack to the rapper’s whereabouts. Knight, the former officers and the alleged triggerman, Amir Muhammad, have denied involvement in the killing. They were not named as defendants in the proposed new suit.

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U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper denied the request Thursday, ruling there was “no admissible evidence that Perez was on duty ... at the scene of the murder.”

Cooper declared a mistrial last summer after finding that a police detective intentionally hid statements by a jailhouse informant linking the killing to Mack and Perez, who had been two key figures in the Rampart police scandal.

The judge also ordered the city to pay $1.1 million in legal fees and other expenses to the rapper’s family.

The family had used those events to expand their case claiming rogue police officers were involved in the killing.

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Plaintiffs’ attorney Perry Sanders said the judge’s ruling means the case against the city will remain the same as when it was filed four years ago.

The new allegation “was about a hair’s difference between the original cause of action,” Sanders said, and the new case he had sought to expand.


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