One week ago, seven days before what would have been the Notorious B.I.G.'s 38th birthday (May 21), former Los Angeles police officer David Mack, who many allege helped orchestrate the hit that killed one of hip-hop's most beloved MCs, was released from prison.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' records, Mack became a free man on May 14.
Mack was known for his ties to Death Row Records and the Bloods gang; a detective investigating the Biggie murder case also discovered Mack owned a car similar to the one used on the hit against the Brooklyn MC, though police did not follow the lead.
Many friends, family members and fans of Biggie are still flabbergasted at what they believe is a lack of effort in seeking justice for the slain rap superstar.
"I'm definitely upset about it," Lil' Cease told MTV News this week. "I think it's something they should look into, especially when you see all these other things going on and you see how they pursue other cases. It just seems like when it came to Biggie, it was, 'Oh, another rapper, another hoodlum, another gangster is dead.' Same thing with 2Pac. These were two of the most influential figures in hip-hop, and you're not finding these people's murderers? Or not even making a real attempt to? It upsets you, 'cause they're treating them like nobodies but they had a big influence in the game and people look up to them. No matter what they rap about or what they'd been through, they were still human beings at the time."
A Los Angeles Police Department representative told MTV News the case is still ongoing, but a spokesperson had no comment on the investigation.
Retired LAPD detective Russell Poole told MTV News in March that he continues to believe that Mack, other rogue officers including Rafael Perez, and former Death Row Records head Suge Knight conspired together to kill the Notorious B.I.G.
Poole said the 2005 mistrial due to police withholding evidence (the same judge later declared another mistrial, accusing Biggie's family of failing to disclose information they obtained) and subsequent shelving of the trial has made it increasingly difficult for the murderer to be found.
At press time, the case still has yet to receive a new date.
"Unless somebody on the inside fingers Suge Knight and these officers that I believe are involved, it's gonna be very, very hard for them to actually proceed with a criminal court case, from a logical standpoint," Poole told MTV News. "The fact of the matter is, the evidence was there. I've had less evidence on cases where I've sent people to prison for the rest of their lives. This case had a lot of evidence to it. Start with the officers that were working off-duty for Death Row Records, they were getting paid well. That occupation, working for Death Row Records, superseded them working for LAPD as sworn, honest, police officers. And nobody has really put any emphasis on that, and that's the real story. Nobody ever investigated those officers way back then, when they were working for corrupt gangsters that were on parole and were armed. Nobody has done any real in depth investigation on that."
Poole said it was an unwritten rule that police were not allowed to work in other capacities, such as the roles many secured within Death Row's organization.
Mack and Perez, who has since changed his name to Ray Lopez, were later convicted and sentenced to prison for crimes unrelated to the Notorious B.I.G. shooting. Both men are now free after serving out their times.A third man, Amir Muhammad, who Poole and others alleged was the shooter, has never been questioned by police.
Knight was recently arrested by police in California and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, but the former mogul (his company, Death Row Records, was auctioned off) has never been connected by police to the Biggie case.
On Friday (May 21), more than 13 years since his killing, Biggie's birthday is still being celebrated. His Junior M.A.F.I.A. cohort Lil' Cease spoke to MTV News this week and explained how he thought Big would recognize his birthday this year if he were alive.
"Today, he'd probably just be with the family," Cease said. "We had our experience on the road: performing, doing shows, big parties. He definitely would have had a big party. A celebrity affair. But he also would have done something private with the M.A.F.I.A., close friends, wife. He kept it together with everybody he dealt with, and I'm sure they would have all came out and shown their love for Big and kept everything else under the carpet, whatever it was. Big had that type of heart, that everyone would wanna come out and show their love and spend that day with him."
What are some of your favorite Biggie memories? Let us know in the comments.