Friday, April 27, 2012

L.A. Confidential: An Interview with Retired LAPD Detective Greg Kading, Author of ‘Murder Rap’ Part 2

In part two of Scottscope's interview with retired LAPD detective Greg Kading (Click here to read part 1 if you haven't already), Mr. Kading talks about being taken off the Biggie and Tupac murder investigations before his team was able to make a single arrest.  He also delves a bit deeper into the criminal ties of Marion "Suge" Knight and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. 

Scott Wilson: Judging by Keefe D’s version of events, it was hard to tell how serious Sean Combs was about having Tupac and Suge Knight killed.  He almost seemed shocked when Tupac’s murder actually took place.  By contrast, Suge clearly wanted Biggie dead and took the necessary steps to get the job done.  Does that mean that Suge had a tighter grip on his criminal ties than Diddy?   
Greg Kading: No, I think that there’s just a deeper intent to get the thing done.  I believe Puffy was operating out of fear and desperation.  He had a target on his back out here (The West Coast).  He was aware Suge was trying to hunt him down.  There had already been blood spilled.  I think that Puffy was generally just scared and felt like his back was against the wall, and maybe out of fear, frustration and desperation he solicits this murder without really thinking it through. Just out of like boasting or talking: “I need these guys out of the way, can you take care of this?  I’ll give you whatever you need.”  As opposed to Suge, who deliberately and intentionally set the thing up.  There was a different approach to it, and I think that Suge’s was much more direct and intentional.

Sean "P. Diddy" Combs (left) and Marion "Suge" Knight (right0

Scott Wilson: Has Russell Poole contacted you in regards to Murder Rap?  Has he given a public reaction to you or the book?
Greg Kading: No.  I’ve made a couple of attempts to get his phone number.  I would love to sit down and talk with him.  I would love to allow him to evaluate the information.  He has just made kind of irresponsible responses to this by saying “Hey, people confess to murders all the time.  So I don’t buy it.” Well that’s a ridiculous statement, because people don’t confess to murders like this all the time. 

Remember, he was on this case for one year at the beginning.  He didn’t have all the access to the material that we have.  Although his theory captured the public’s imagination, it never went anywhere.  Even in the civil suit they couldn’t accomplish anything based on that theory.  It’s a theory that’s full of holes.  It’s actually baseless when you look at the foundation of how the theory was built.  For whatever reason, the people that have worked on these cases before have dug in their heels and they’re kind of refusing to accept the reality that they were wrong.  It’s unfortunate, because it’s not in everybody’s best interest to stick your head in the sand and pretend this isn’t happening.

Scott Wilson:  It seems that once you and your taskforce were able to disprove Russell Poole’s theories about LAPD involvement in the Biggie Smalls murder, the department no longer had any interest in pursuing the case further.  Given that Suge Knight is a high profile individual who flaunts his gang ties, wouldn’t it have been in the department’s best interest to see the investigation through to completion and put him behind bars?  Wouldn’t that go a long way in counteracting any embarrassment or scandal that the department might endure in the process?   

Tupac Shakur (left) and Marion "Suge" Knight (right)
Greg Kading: Absolutely.  I’m still bewildered by it.  I’m doing more to clear up their name and to set the record straight than they are themselves. It just makes absolutely no sense, it really doesn’t. But it just goes back to an attitude of indifference.  “We’re out from under the lawsuit.  We’ve spent enough time and energy on that damn case.  Everybody just go back to work.”  I don’t get it, quite frankly.  

Scott Wilson: When I first heard the claims you were making in your book, particularly your refutation of the LAPD’s involvement in Biggie’s murder, I felt that you were simply doing damage control for the LAPD.  What would you say to anyone with similar opinions about you and your book?    

Greg Kading: Well, I would just say just look at it objectively.  Obviously, the story of having LAPD officers involved in a murder is salacious story.  It’s a much more appealing story.  A lot of people who come from these urban backgrounds already have a predisposed attitude about law enforcement, so it’s easy to believe it’s true.  But when you really look at it, it’s baseless.  

Once they see that the Amir Muhammad and David Mack claims had no foundation, the whole thing dissipates into thin air and there’s just no reason to believe it whatsoever.  Another important point is that the LAPD always knew that they could disprove Poole’s theory, that’s why they refused to settle out of court for even two million dollars.  It was going to cost the city more to engage in a civil suit then it would’ve if they would’ve basically settled out for two million, which was the request.  They said “No, we’re not going to because we can disprove this at its very core.”  As the civil case went through its motions, all these jailhouse informants went running for the hills.  They all recanted.  They all admitted that they were lying, and the whole case fell apart because everybody knew it was a big smoke and mirrors deal.  

Scott Wilson:  Have you read Ronin Ro’s book Have Gun Will Travel?  It chronicles the rise and fall of Death Row.  

Cover art for the paperback version of Ronin Ro's Have Gun Will Travel: The Spectacular Rise and Violent Fall of Death Row Records.

Greg Kading: Yeah.  I have been asked that question before, and I said that I wasn’t sure. But now that I’ve gone back and looked at all my materials, I had a whole bunch of stuff that was xeroxed out of that book that I used for reference. So yeah, I have read that, and my partner also purchased it early on and had it available for the investigation. 

Scott Wilson: Since you’ve read it, would you say that the characterization of Suge Knight in that book matches the profile you and your team were able to develop on him?

Greg Kading: Well I don’t want to misspeak, so I’d have to get into more specifics.  If you could help me out with characterizing the profile that was presented in the book then I can agree with it.  I never did like a side by side comparison.

Scott Wilson: The book made some pretty strong allegations.  It talked about Suge basically using rape as a form of terrorism against some of his male employees and the rival label heads he was trying to extort.  It also talks about him having other people killed.  It makes him look altogether more fearsome.  It paints the atmosphere surrounding Death Row as a kind of free-for-all.  Would you say that’s accurate to what you discovered about him during your investigation?

Greg Kading: I would say all of that’s pretty consistent except for the rape allegations.  I’m not saying that that’s not true; I’m just basically saying that I’m not aware of that element of it.  Based on everything I’ve seen, and I think I’ve seen everything that’s ever been done as far as the investigations into Death Row.  I saw the whole federal investigation into them, the whole drug case.  Everything that’s ever been documented from law enforcement I had access to and read.  Certainly he ruled with an iron fist.   There was an absolute environment of fear.  When you crossed him there was going to be heavy consequences.  You see all the law suits that were brought on from different people, and they just kind of settle out.  It’s pretty amazing that he’s gotten away with everything that he’s gotten away with.  

Scott Wilson: You’ve surely encountered some very bad people in your career as a detective.  To be sure, neither 2Pac nor Biggie were perfect angels in life, but I don’t necessarily seem them as villains either.  Do you think that either of them did anything to warrant dying such violent deaths?

Greg Kading: No, absolutely not.  I think both of them were incredibly talented, and they came from backgrounds that were difficult.  Coming up on the streets and with single parents and all of that, I can understand how they might get themselves into some of the little pickles.  Certainly, nothing that they did would have allowed somebody to look back and say that they created this mess for themselves, or brought it upon themselves.

Scott Wilson: Since Mob Piru Bloods member Wardell “Poochie” Fouse a.k.a Darnell Bolton and Southside Crip Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson are both dead, could it be said that justice has already been served from a street perspective?

Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson is widely believed to have been the shooter in the Tupac Shakur murder

Mob Piru Bloods member Wardell “Poochie” Fouse a.k.a Darnell Bolton, who Greg Kading believes was the shooter in the Biggie Smalls murder.

Greg Kading: That’s the way I see it.  I think that’s the perfect justice.  Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.  Both of these shooters died in the same violent manner that they dispelled on Tupac and Biggie, so I think that at least in those two particular situations, that’s the best sort of justice.  

Scott Wilson: You seemed to get emotionally and personally involved with the case by the time you were taken off of it.  What fostered such a reaction?  Was it simply a desire to see justice prevail?  Did you at any point feel sympathy for the victims?

Greg Kading: As a homicide investigator, when you go into it, you don’t necessarily evaluate the lifestyle or the character of your victim.  You’re just simply there to solve the case.  These obviously are some very high profile figures, which just adds to it and makes it that much more important to solve.  You don’t stand in judgment of the victim(s); otherwise you won’t be motivated to solve them in many cases.  

I’m a person that if you’re going to give me a job to do, I’m going to give a thousand percent.  When you’re asked to do something and then you give everything you’ve got in furtherance of that goal and then you’re pulled from it for no other justifiable reason, there’s a sense of betrayal too.  There were a lot of different factors here.  I felt like we’d essentially solved the cases.  There was still stuff that we were going to accomplish.  

I can tell you this, and there’s no way for me to prove this: Had I been left to finish what we started, there would be people in jail today.  I am absolutely confident of that.  So that’s disappointing and discouraging.  I’ve always worked that way, I’ve always been 110% committed to anything that I do,  It just happened that I was going to be as committed as anything else I did in my career.  

Scott Wilson: You mentioned a New York drug dealer by the name of Eric “Zip” Martin aka Equan Williams.  Your book says that he provided the .40 caliber Glock handgun that was used to kill Tupac. He’s kind of a shady or vague character in your book. He’s just an associate of Keefe D and Puffy.  The book’s not about him, so you really don’t get to know him or his organization. By him being involved, does that lend any credence to Tupac’s theory about there being an east coast conspiracy against him?

Greg Kading: No, I don’t necessarily know that.  I don’t know if Zip has a relationship with Jimmy Henchmen or Haitian Jack.  I do know that Zip has a relationship with Puffy.  Zip was close with that circle of friends out there.  He was actually godfather to one of Puffy’s kids.  There’s a very close knit connection between Zip and Puffy.  Zip, as I mentioned in the book, was initially a go between for Puffy and the Southside Crips.  He was getting all this PCP and cocaine from Keefe D out here (Los Angeles).  So it does reinforce and substantiate Keefe D’s claims because you see this very strong alliance between Zip and Puffy.  So when those connections are made, it makes perfect sense.  We see Zip out there in Las Vegas at the time Tupac is murdered.  Then you have his associates, one of which is an informant that provided law enforcement with some details early on about his involvement in the case.  So there’s a pretty compelling situation with him as the middle man.

Scott Wilson: If your book Murder Rap accomplishes anything, what do you want it to be?  What do you hope this book will do?

Greg Kading: I hope it will educate the public, for those who care to know what exactly happened.  This is built on facts and evidence, not speculation and theory.  If nothing else, it will at least change the history of what people believed happened. Short of ever getting any criminal prosecutions in the case, this is as good as it gets.  At least people can say I’m confident in what had occurred, and we don’t have to settle for theory and speculation anymore.   

*(Greg kading's book ‘Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations’ can be purchased through it's official website, or through retail outlets such as


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