Judge Rules LAPD Detectives Accused of Cover-Up Can Be Added as Defendants in Biggie Case
Los Angeles, CA -- In a major victory for the family of murdered rap superstar Christopher Wallace (better known as the Notorious B.I.G.), U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ruled today that Detectives Stanley Nalywaiko and Stuart Maislin of the Los Angeles Police Department's Risk Management Group, along with Detective Steven Katz, whose concealment of evidence led to a 2005 mistrial, can be added as defendants in the Wallace family's wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles.
As Judge Cooper noted in her ruling, the Wallace family has charged that "in their capacity as supervisors in the Risk Management Group, [Nalywaiko, Katz, and Maislin] failed to supervise or directly participated in the concealment of evidence in this case."
The Wallace family's lead attorney, Perry R. Sanders, Jr., has long maintained that the case involved an LAPD cover-up. "Judge Cooper's ruling today gives the family a chance to prove to the world that police were involved in the murder -- and that high officials have covered up for those officers," Sanders said. "The family is extremely pleased to have the opportunity to hold accountable some of the key the people involved in the cover-up."
In 2005, Judge Cooper declared a mistrial in the Wallace case after finding that Detective Katz hid statements linking the killing of Christopher Wallace to rogue cops David A. Mack and Rafael Perez. Noting that "the attempted concealment of evidence and failure to respond to officer wrongdoing is a central issue in this case" -- and that such evidence did not come to light until "after the 2005 mistrial" -- Judge Cooper said there was no reason not to grant the family's request to amend its lawsuit to add the three detectives as defendants.
In her 11-page ruling, Judge Cooper denied on technical grounds the Wallace family's request also to add other defendants, noting that separate suits could be brought against those individuals. Said Sanders: "The prosecution of criminals should be the job of the police. The victim's family is trying to hold the LAPD accountable for facilitating crime and then covering it up -- and they hope this will be the only lawsuit they ever need to bring to a conclusion."