Detective Who Was Critical of LAPD’s Biggie Smalls Investigation Dies During Interview for His Upcoming Notorious B.I.G. Book

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele
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Notorious B.I.G.; Russell Poole
Wikimedia Commons; YouTube Screenshot

You had to be living under a rock in the late 1990s if you don't recognize Russell Poole, the former detective with the Los Angeles Police Department who appeared in a number of television specials and documentaries about the murder investigation of one of the greatest MCs ever to do it: the Notorious B.I.G. (government name: Christopher Wallace, and also known as Biggie Smalls).

Poole was relentless in his pursuit of Biggie's killer, and believed that Marion "Suge" Knight played a role in the rapper's death. Poole believed that the person who pulled the trigger was an off-duty LAPD cop who was hired by Knight. So Poole's theory also implicated that police department. 

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Poole, 58, was interviewing a Los Angeles police captain for a book he was writing about Biggie's murder when he suffered a heart attack and died, TMZ reports. During the interview, Poole reportedly clutched his chest and said, "I think I'm having a heart attack," right before he keeled over, according to TMZ. 

Sources reportedly told TMZ that Poole believed the LAPD wanted him dead because of his scrutiny of the department's handling of Biggie's murder investigation. Biggie's estate, spearheaded by his mother, Voletta Wallace, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LAPD in 2002. The suit was later dismissed. 

An autopsy was conducted on Poole's body, but the cause of death has not yet been determined. 

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.

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