L.A. Cops Launch New Probe Into Notorious B.I.G.'s Slaying

Police Chief William Bratton has launched a new task force to investigate the unsolved 1997 killing of rap star Notorious B.I.G., a newspaper reported Monday.

The new investigation comes in the face of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by B.I.G.'s mother Voletta Wallace and other relatives, who claim that rogue police officers were involved in the killing, the Los Angeles Times said.

Evidence discovered by the new task force could help the city in its argument against the family's claims.

An initial lawsuit filed by the Wallace family ended in a mistrial in July of 2005 after just three days of testimony when an anonymous tip led to the discovery that a police detective intentionally hid statements by a jailhouse informant linking the killing to former officers David Mack and Rafael Perez.

B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace, was 24 when he was gunned down March 9, 1997, while leaving a crowded late-night party at a Los Angeles museum. The rotund New York rapper also known as Biggie Smalls was one of the most influential hip-hop artists of the 1990s.

There was no new evidence that prompted the formation of the task force.

The team is exploring the theory that B.I.G. was killed by a member of the Southside Crips gang as part of a hip-hop feud that that involved the slaying of rapper Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas six months earlier.

The investigators are also pursuing allegations that B.I.G. was killed by a Blood gang member hired by Marion "Suge" Knight, the owner of Shakur's record label. Knight has denied any involvement in the killing.