On Monday (October 3rd), the LA Weekly published a jaw-dropping article regarding the revelations made by former Los Angeles Police Department detective Greg Kading in his just-released book, Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations.
After a 25-year career in law enforcement, Kading retired in 2010 and began writing his book detailing the three years he investigated the murders of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur from 2006-2009 as part of a joint L.A.P.D./federal task force that set out initially to solve the murder of Biggie Smalls in the wake of his mother Voletta Wallace’s multi-million dollar lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles for allegedly covering up the fact that then on-duty L.A.P.D. officers helped coordinate the shooting of her son outside of the Petersen Automotive Museum in the early hours of March 9, 1997.
Ms. Wallace’s belief that former L.A.P.D. officers (and affiliates of then CEO of Death Row Records, Marion "Suge" Knight) David Mack and Rafael Perez directed the godfather of Mack’s children, Amir Muhammad, in the shooting death of her son stemmed from initial investigating done by former L.A.P.D. detective Russell Poole. But now one of Poole’s successors in investigating the Biggie case, Kading, is claiming that he disproved Poole’s theory, and that rogue police officers were not in fact involved in the murder plot. Kading does however align with Poole in his belief that Suge Knight orchestrated the hit, but believes that Suge’s “go-to guy” for murders was not a cop (and that his hit-man was actually contracted by one of the mothers of Knight’s children, who is identified as “Theresa Swann” in Murder Rap to protect her real identity).
Yesterday (October 4th), Greg Kading, a Medal of Valor recipient for bravery, spoke with HipHopDX (courtesy of Rare Bird Lit) in a two-part interview, with the first half of Q&A dedicated to his investigation into the murder of Notorious B.I.G. The man who shocked the Hip Hop world by challenging the seemingly solid theory put forth by Russell Poole regarding the murder of Biggie Smalls further raised eyebrows in his discussion with DX by refuting several previously established facts in the case, and even challenged one of the most convincing criminal identifications ever captured on film.
Greg Kading Counters Amir Muhammad As A Suspect In Biggie's Murder
HipHopDX: I wanna start off by asking you about the crucial elements of The Notorious B.I.G. murder investigation. First, do you believe Amir Muhammad was at the Petersen Automotive Museum the night Biggie was killed?
Greg Kading: No, actually I don’t. The whole Amir Muhammad theory we were able to refute.
Amir Muhammad was a name – actually, there was never an Amir Muhammad’s name, there was just an “Amir,” which was part of a clue given by a jailhouse informant named Michael Robinson. He says that he heard that it was “Amir,” or “Ashmir,” or “Kenny,” or “Keke.” So when he’s interviewed, and he’s giving information to the detectives, he says this is what he heard, is that, “It was a guy named Amir.” “It was a guy named maybe Amir or Ashmir.” He’s not even sure. He goes, “Maybe it’s Kenny, or maybe it was Keke.” So there were these four different names that that informant gave out. There was never a last name or anything else connected to it. However, he mentions this Amir/Ashmir/Kenny/Keke guy is supposedly a Nation Of Islam guy, and maybe he was a Crip affiliate or maybe a Crip, and he’s a hit-man. So he provides these little details in his clue that are kind of vague, they don’t really give you anything substantial: there’s no last name, there’s no real physical [description], there’s no residence, nothing.
This is a very key element, because it’s this clue that takes the entire investigation down that rabbit hole of Russell Poole’s. And Russell Poole’s theory of course leads to the inevitable lawsuit about the police being involved because Russell Poole finds out that a guy named Amir had visited David Mack at the Montebello City Jail after his bank robbery arrest. And he’s like, “Oh, shoot! Amir? Wait a minute, I have a clue with a guy named Amir on it.” It was a very loose connection. It was definitely necessary to follow-up on it, but it wasn’t enough to build a whole theory around.
DX: Well, Russell Poole’s theory got a little bit more solidified in Nick Broomfield’s Biggie & Tupac documentary, when former Bad Boy Records bodyguard Eugene Deal identified Amir Muhammad as being present at the Petersen Automotive Museum that night, and that Amir actually approached Diddy first in a possible attempt to shoot him. Do you accept Eugene Deal’s identification of Amir as being credible?
Greg Kading: No, I don’t, actually. Because, the whole six-pack [photo lineup shown to Deal], the whole identification, the whole thing became corrupted.
And if you look at the initial statements of Eugene Deal, and Lil Cease, if you look at the eyewitnesses’ statements [from the people] that were actually in the car, they’re very vague, and they’re very contradictory. And you don’t see that Eugene Deal brings up the fact that there’s this guy in the parking lot who he identifies as a Nation Of Islam-looking guy who approached them – that stuff doesn’t get brought up until a second interview, at which time Lil Cease and Eugene Deal have had a chance to kinda compare notes.
In law enforcement, when you’re doing these interviews, you have to realize how one person’s conversation influences another person’s perspective. And so when you have these guys and [they’re like], “What did you see? Well, what did you see?,” well then they develop their own perspectives on what happened. And they’re trying to help, and it’s all honest, but they influence each other, and sometimes they taint each other’s perceptions.
All I’m trying to say here is that, that I.D., the video I.D. [in Biggie & Tupac] where [Nick Broomfield] gets up and Eugene Deal points at [a photo of Amir Muhammad in a lineup], there’s a lot of problems with that legally, and the way that it was developed. Now Eugene Deal’s looking at Amir Muhammad but he’s also now seeing – ‘Cause you know there were two [sketches of the suspected shooter], right? So there were some problems in the development. They weren’t able to keep that identification clean.
But the most important thing – and I’m not calling [him a liar], I think Eugene Deal is trying to help as best he can. And I think maybe he was trying to help too much, as opposed to just being perfectly honest. I think there was some influence there that caused him to point out that picture. But the point is this, there may have been a guy there that was in the parking lot that matched the description of that person, but that’s nothing like what Lil Cease sees and the other witnesses see of the person that’s behind the wheel of the car.
DX: Speaking of that initial composite, even [for] the first composite Lil Cease describes someone in a suit and bow tie. Do you believe that he didn’t see what he thought he saw?
Greg Kading: I would love to sit down and show you their actual statements, because you see that Lil Cease doesn’t give that description in his initial interview. He only gives that description after he’s gone and talked to Eugene Deal. And then later on when the detectives come back, he incorporates Eugene Deal’s details into his own statement.
DX: So who do you believe was that lone person in that car who did the shooting?
Greg Kading: We believe it’s a guy named Poochie, who was a Blood affiliate of Suge Knight’s. His [given name is] Wardell Fouse.
DX: You believe he did the shooting himself?
Greg Kading: I do believe that. I don’t believe that he was there completely alone though. We have no idea who might’ve been helping him. And maybe there was this lone Nation Of Islam guy, that Eugene Deal pointed out, that was acting as a spotter, or somehow tried to help coordinate it. But I don’t believe that some guy in the Nation Of Islam was the shooter.
DX: Do you believe the shooter drove a dark-colored Chevrolet Impala as witnesses claimed?
Greg Kading: Yeah, absolutely. As a matter of fact, if you look at that official video – the YouTube video, there’s several versions of it but there’s one that says “official” – if you really dissect that, which we did, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that that is Poochie in his car … in that dark-colored Impala.
DX: And do you believe Poochie dressed up in Nation Of Islam garb?
Greg Kading: No way.
Greg Kading Clarifies Who He Believes Murdered Biggie Smalls
DX: Do you believe David Mack and Rafael Perez were at the Petersen Automotive Museum the night Biggie was killed, as was recently revealed to have been alleged by a former cellmate of Perez’s?
Greg Kading: No, I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that at all. I have no reason to believe they were there, but I don’t have any – I haven’t seen the evidence that was in the civil case [brought by Voletta Wallace] regarding the L.A.P.D. I was involved in the criminal investigation. We were kind of bifurcated away from the civil investigation. So saying that, we have no reason to believe that Perez or Mack were there.
Again, the most important thing here to remember is the foundation of this whole theory is corrupted because Michael Robinson, the jailhouse informant that provided this information that led to this idea of the Nation Of Islam/Amir Muhammad, that whole thing has been refuted because we – There’s another witness in this whole thing named Waymond Anderson. He came on early, he was claiming that Suge had tried to hire him to get some guns, and some other Suge associates were gonna go do the murder. Well these two guys that were both talking to law enforcement about the same time – This is one of the key mistakes that the L.A.P.D. in the early investigation did, was to fail to recognize that these two informants were in county jail together and were collaborating. So once you realize that, and you start to really question now the viability of their clues, then the whole thing begins to fall apart.
DX: Just bringing the investigation up to more currently … What evidence did you collect in addition to the statements of “Theresa Swann” to tie Wardell “Poochie” Fouse and Suge Knight to the murder of Biggie Smalls? What evidence in addition to her statements, besides just – you mentioned the I.D. that you believe was him on video, any other evidence in addition to that?
Greg Kading: Well, no, there’s no I.D. of him on video, so sorry if I misrepresented that. I believe that’s him, but you can’t see him on the video so there’s no way to really identify him. I’m just drawing that conclusion based on all of the other collective information: the fact that “Theresa,” the girlfriend, confesses, she tells us that she had paid Poochie at the direction of Knight, [that] Poochie had an Impala that Knight had bought him, and then we have these other people that were in the inner circle, the other Death Row [Records staff]/gang members who all told us about this relationship that Suge had with Poochie. And we have these reports of Poochie doing these other shootings for Suge. And so we’re like, “Okay, well this seems to be his kinda go-to guy when he’s having these kind of problems.” And so that’s all the stuff that’s discussed in the book, and it will compound the girl’s statement. We took her statement, it was reinforced with these other statements by these other insiders, and then the circumstantial evidence of the car, the money transfers, all of the things that happened [that] led us to believe that she was telling the truth.
DX: So you have proof of a money transfer?
Greg Kading: Yeah, we have – There’s … we … We had a good case.
DX: I read in the LA Weekly piece that Swann’s interview wasn’t recorded?
Greg Kading: That’s correct.
DX: Okay. That … that seems a little – I mean, why wasn’t it recorded?
Greg Kading: Yeah, and this’ll probably sound a little bit suspicious to you, but working in these federal task forces all the different agencies have their own internal policies about interview protocol. And, we were always recognizing because we had taken this to the federal investigative level – including [having] the F.B.I. involved in all of our interviews – [that] they have their own policy that they don’t record their interviews. And this is their own policy that you can look into and probably verify. We were honoring that, and saying, Hey, if the F.B.I. doesn’t want the – And there was an F.B.I. agent actually in the interview with us. And so, we had this long discussion, and we said, “Should we record this or should we not?” And we came to the collective agreement that we wouldn’t.
DX: And I understand you had her read a faked confession from Poochie, who was already deceased?
Greg Kading: Yeah, that’s correct.
DX: Is that also protocol or - ?
Greg Kading: It’s what we call a ruse. I don’t know how familiar you are with interrogation practices, [but] a lot of times, especially when you’re dealing with people with these kind of criminal backgrounds, they’re much more likely to … I won’t say be at ease, because it’s never that. They’re much more likely to open up and begin to discuss things that present their own culpability in crimes when they think that somebody else has already opened the door, that somebody else has already ratted.
For instance, have you ever seen that movie L.A. Confidential? Remember, there’s a scene in there where they’ve got these two guys in there that they’re interrogating, and they convince the one guy in one room that the other guy is ratting out on him, and then they start to – that opens the door for them to then [be like], “Oh, okay, well if he’s ratting him out then I’m gonna do it.” Well, it’s kinda that same psychological technique that we use a lot in law enforcement.
It’s like a ruse. If somebody thinks that somebody else has already let the cat out of the bag, it’s much more easier for them to [talk]. ‘Cause now she can go back and tell Suge, if she ever gets confronted with her cooperation, she can say, “It wasn’t me, Poochie already snitched us out.”
DX: Now, I don’t know if you can answer this question, but I do need to ask it: Is “Theresa Swann” actually former Death Row Records artist, and mother of Suge Knight’s nine-year-old daughter, Michel’le?
Greg Kading: No, it's not.
DX: Okay. And, it’s your assertion in Murder Rap that Suge Knight instructed Swann to contact Poochie to arrange the hit on Biggie while Mr. Knight was speaking on a prison phone that he knows was being recorded?
Greg Kading: No, absolutely not. It was an in-person [meeting]. … Swann met with Knight in jail on more than one occasion. And that’s where the solicitation and the conspiracy was fostered.
DX: [Were] there any eyewitness reports of this conversation by prison employees?
Greg Kading: Well, we don’t know. Because, when she tells us this so many years have gone by to go back and try to – to go back 10, 12 years and try to get any kind of inmate records about a visitation, they don’t exist. That stuff gets purged out. There’s no way to go, Well, who was the deputy on charge that day? I mean, there’s just no way to know. However, as you’ll read in the book, there was a third person there, which was Suge Knight’s attorney, David Kenner. Now David Kenner has what we call … he’s got privileged communications, because he’s the attorney. Which means, they don’t have to talk on a phone, it means they meet in the attorney-client area of the jail where they can have full contact, non-monitored conversations because it’s attorney-client [privilege]. So no deputy or no prison employee’s gonna be able to stand there and listen to it. So what Kenner had done was he brought Theresa Swann into the jail under the ruse of her being his legal aid. So, Kenner shows up to talk to his client, Knight, he brings Swann with him, says, “Yeah, she’s my aid,” and now it allows the two of them to sit down and talk, without any monitoring, without any overhearing and all of that.
DX: And did you interview David Kenner about this meeting?
Greg Kading: No, I’ve never interviewed David Kenner. As you will read in the book, I was pulled off the task force shortly after her confession and I never got a chance to do all the follow-up stuff that needed to be done.
Much of the holes that you’re gonna find in this is simply because there was nobody there to follow-up on the investigation once I got ripped out.
DX: And, ultimately you believe Biggie’s mother is mistaken in her apparent loyalty to Russell Poole’s original theory that Amir Muhammad murdered her son at the direction of former L.A.P.D. officers David Mack and Rafael Perez?
Greg Kading: Yeah, absolutely. When you see that the foundation of his theory implodes – ‘cause it was all based on this very arbitrary clue from a jailhouse informant that I think we’ve disproven – once that foundation falls apart the whole Amir Muhammad thing, the whole David Mack thing, the whole thing is irrelevant. Because, the bottom of that’s already been taken out and refuted.
DX: Just out of curiosity though, did you ever converse with Russell Poole during your investigation?
Greg Kading: No, I never did actually. No, I never got a chance to talk to Russ.
I need to qualify that, because it might look negligent if you just said, Well, he never talked to him. It wasn’t out of a desire not to talk to him, but because I was an employee with the L.A.P.D., with the city of Los Angeles, conducting an ongoing criminal investigation, and he was a witness in a civil suit for the plaintiff against the city of Los Angeles. It’s a conflict of interest for us to go and try to compare notes or have conversations. We’re precluded from having any conversations. I would’ve loved to have talked to Voletta Wallace during the investigation. I would’ve loved to talk to some of the other people on the plaintiff’s witness list, but we just simply couldn’t because the legal politics involved.
Greg Kading Defends LAPD's Interest In Biggie Murder Investigation
DX: Lastly in regards to the Biggie Smalls murder investigation, were you ever implicitly instructed by your superiors in the L.A.P.D. to not identify former L.A.P.D. officers in your findings as having been part of the Biggie Smalls murder plot?
Greg Kading: No, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, we did the exact opposite. Every time we interviewed anybody that would be one of the questions we’d ask: “Well, what do you know about David Mack? What do you know about Rafael Perez? What have you heard about this conspiracy to murder [Biggie]?” We made a point of that. I mean, we went into this with a very objective attitude. Trust me, if there’s anybody that I wanted to be guilty, it was David Mack. But, that’s not how you conduct an investigation.
We would ask, and if anybody tells us, “Hey, it was David Mack,” well we would immediately draft up a report, [and] we’d give that to the Internal Affairs division, which was handling the lawsuit against the city. So that was the protocol we had. If anybody that we talked to had any information on David Mack, we always made sure that was then pushed over into the civil case. We had very explicit orders that any developments regarding Mack, Perez or any other L.A.P.D. officer tied to Death Row, we had to make a special note of it and then hand that over. The problem was we never got any. Everybody that we would talk to and bring that up and ask those questions it was always the same answer: “Well … yeah …” “How do you know?” “Well, it’s what I read in the newspaper.” “Well, why do you believe that?” “I read it in the newspaper.” So everything about those guys was stuff that was hearsay information. Nobody ever had anything beyond that.
Stay tuned to HipHopDX for the stunning second half of our conversation with Greg Kading, in which the former member of the Los Angeles Police Department takes DX through his investigation into the murder of Tupac in Las Vegas.