Richard J. Bond is the director of "Tupac Assassination" as well as the much anticipated follow up "Tupac Reckoning part 2"
(1) What was your inspiration for making Tupac Assassination then following it up with Tupac Reckoning?
A (RJ): The piece didn't start out as what it became. Many people are surprised to hear that. We started it as a documentary about how hip-hop had changed since that time and the subject of Tupac came up. We interviewed some people close to Tupac who shared some information that left us scratching our heads as to why the Vegas police didn't follow up. We then found out that they hadn't even talked to these people and it kind of spiraled out from there. 11 years was a good amount of time to pull back the rug and see what was growing underneath it.
(2) Do you think there was a connection or was it just mere coincidence that Orlando Anderson was at Las Vegas the night Tupac was shot as well as California the night Biggie Smalls was shot? He seemed to be one common denominator!
A (RJ): Depends on who you ask. I am writing a book about the entire thing and the more research I do on the matter, the more it disproves his involvement. Most theories get worn out over the years; things happen that forensically prove or disprove the data. In the pantheon of theories of who did it and why, the Knight/Wright theory is the only one that seems to get more steam as it goes. You have to have a motive and opportunity. The argument about Anderson is a "post hoc, ergo proter hoc" argument. "Because this happended earlier before this event. the first event must be the cause". What amazes me about this is that we have aproven motive, and the players that had means and opportunity.
Critics of our theory say it's a streach to believe this or that. What - believe Kinght is a liar and violent felon? Proven. That Reggie Wright will break the law for Knight? Proven. Read the multi-million dollar fraudulent conveyance Wright did for Knight to try to keep the Wilshire property out of the Knight bankruptcy. That Wright himself said "If we wanted Tupac dead we would have taken him to the deset?" Proven.
Unless you are Tim Brennan or Ladd, you have to have volumne more blind faith that certain things had to happen for Anderson to either do it himself or persuade others to do it for him; which is a bigger leap of faith. They sure did stomp Anderson; no doubt. But in the end, the bigger question is if Anderson really had the "juice" to motivate 3 other cats to jump in the car with him and pull down the biggest name in rap? Did he have enough "gang pull" to make that happen? Nothing we see indicates that other than his family might have had some pull. But to mount a fast attack like that, as "recklessly" as that was shotgunned out, you really have to put it out there; balls. Then you have Brennan and Ladd, who can't even get the facts right in their own f-ing affidavit about the murder three weeks after talking with Vegas police (good note taking guys), running around saying they have the "truth". Hard to believe if you can't get the basic facts about the shooting right that you have the truth about shit.
(3) Do you think Orlando Anderson's murder at the car wash was in retaliation for Tupac's? If so why do you think the retaliation was delayed for 18 months?
A (RJ): According to the information we received from various sources, including the estate's attorney, Anderson was about to settle matters with Tupac's estate. Rumor has it that Anderson (the "rival") knew Knight well enough to have a conversation where he denied wanting to give Knight a cut of the meager settlement. I think Donald David said it was like $25,000. The car wash hit came within 48 hours of that. The timing is too good.
The other thing we "deep dive" into in the book which is called (for now) "DED ENDZ" is that behaviors after the fact often incriminate individuals. For example, the guys in the movie Goodfellas told their fellow thieves to not spend a lot of money right after the Lufthansa heist. One guy went out and bought a whole bunch of shit and he was killed for it. It's because there are forensic tell-tale signs that might give something away. Anderson was no different.
Without giving too much away - if Anderson was that well juiced with the Crips to order a hit on Tupac or kill him himself, how in the world does that sync with his testifying for Knight later - and perjuring himself? he was obviously motivated by fear of Knight or paid off. If they were in fact "rivals" like Brennan and Ladd want the world to believe, then it follows that the Crips would have been glad to see Knight go to prison; they're enemies, right? Right? Crips don't like Bloods especially in that time (if you believe the setup by Ladd and Brennan). So here is a Crip that has balls big enough to shoot the biggest name in rap - or clout enough to order the hit - suddenly watch his balls shrival up when it is time to put away a powerful enemy? How is that a "hardened" Crip decides the right thing to do to stand up for the "cause" is to let a Blood walk? Name me one other example of that? Again these theories fall apart under their own weight. Wouldn't the Crips have backed Anderson if he was that well connected? Are you telling me the Crips are afraid of Knight? So Anderson waffles to try to keep Knight out of prision. His choice, but not the sign of a powerful enough "hero" to the Crips - I mean he would have been if it was all gang related and he took out Knight's number one money earner. Man they would have had a fucking parade for the guy - might even name him mayor of Cripville!
(4) Detective Tim Brennan indicated that the South Side Crips / Orlando Anderson were behind the murder of Tupac Shakur. Why do you think the Las Vegas Police department ignored evidence Tim Brennan provided to them? For example: many reports were that Orlando's cousin was seen driving a white Cadallac into a body shop yet Las Vegas police said they never received info on this? Tim Brennan often stated that he didn't see any interest in anyone solving this case.
A (RJ): Vegas police didn't trust or believe anything that came out of these guys mouths. It was suspect from the moment it was out there. Conveniently wrapped in plastic and sanatized for your protection. Brennan and Ladd were trained by Wright's father. In most court rooms that would by itself kick a murder case for reasonable doubt. I have not seen "evidence", and what I have seen from Brennan and Ladd is junior level reporting and the complete fabrication and misstatement of fact. I keep going back and forth to that. An affidavit is legal pleading. You write it several weeks after the incident and after having all the facts at your fingers. And you fuck up the basic elements of the crime itself in writing? Wow. If you can't get that right - then swear it's the truth to get a judge to believe it - is it any wonder the guys who knew what happened that night didn't believe it. Credibility is something that once a crack is found (and this was a big fucking crack) it is difficult to overcome.
(5) Why do you think the police didn't obtain surveillance video from "Treasure Island Casino" in Las Vegas to see if a white Cadillac was in and out of there? Maybe they could have gotten a plate, face something of value?
A (RJ): Well I don't think the information about Treasure Island came out for some time after that. We don't know that Vegas PD didn't look at it. That's the other issure - we are playing a lop-sided game. The Vegas PD won't give any indication on what they have looked at or what they have done. It could be to preserve the chain of evidence or keep certain people's guard down. If I tell you (the public) that I looked at XYZ and there was no sign of the car, the person you might really be looking at may start circling their wagons knowing that their cover story just got weaker by a length; they might decide to flee. On the other hand, you also don't want the person to know if they do have your car on tape, as then you might decide to flee as well. It's a balacne to hold certain facts close so that anyone who might be a suspect doesn't know if they are cleared or the noose is getting tighter.
Admitted we were hard on the Vegas PD in Part 2, only out of the general frustration that it looks bad that these guys are trying to present the air like what I explained above. But the truth is we know there are critical witnessess and the like that have not even been approached. I jsut saw a CSI where they are going into outer space to look for clues. It doesn't work like like that. It's hard to get Michael Moore to come in if he does not want to.
(6) In the video "Tupac Reckoning" it has stated that the Cadillac was rented if so why do you think they didn't investigate this more? like the video stated you can't rent a car without a license / insurance or do you think they knew the name and they wouldn't release it?
A (RJ): Kind of goes back to the earlier statement. They may have a rental receipt from Enterprise. They may know who rented the car. Does no good however if the person who rented the car is dead. And there are a whole lot of people who in the words of Brent Becker "ended up dead" that were part of this investigation.
(7) Do you think there is any connection between David Keefe "A well known Crip" working at the MGM the night of the shooting and Orlando Anderson?
A (RJ): It depends on the voractiy and faith you put in the author of the only piece of evidence that says it. The Brennan affidavit. Look, we know that Knight and Anderson had some sort of later collusion as Anderson tried to cover Knight's ass in Knight's trial. That means Kenner and Anderson or Knight and Anderson or Wright and Anderson had some sort of dicussions leading up to that. So who's to say that they didn't have some sort of collusion earlier in the story line?
(8) I realize your main goal is to get the DA to open this case back up well it's already open since its unsloved but with new information they might be able to get Tupac's killer. Do you believe this case will ever get solved?
A (RJ): I believe that Brent Becker said it best: the killer could walk into the police station with a weapon and say he did it. They could find all kinds of evidence to link him. But he would never get convicted because on September 9th, 1996 when Knight went back to LA, they started a gang war to cover it up. George Pryce, Death Row's PR guy woked overtime and the result was an article in the Las Vegas Sun September 10th, 1996 out of nowhere (remember that Knight hadn't even talked to the police) talking about what a great guy Suge Knight was! Why then? Who cared about Knight? The police didn't even release Knight's name on September 7th, 1996 when the shooting happened. He was found out later. But the day before Knight shows up to talk to police (and give them nothing) the Vegas paper goes on and on about a what a great guy Knight was. This and you get guys like Batey running around doing softball interviews with anyone who will try to dicount the thought that Knight and Wright had both motive and opportunity. Creates doubt - reasonable? Maybe to some juries.
(9) I found the story in "Tupac Reckoning" about the 40 glock gun taken from Hussein Fatal at the club VERY interesting and how the police took the gun into custody and how they found a 40 glock gun in a bag of Orlando Anderson's house. Does this go back to the theory that anyone with a badge can make stuff like this happen? Michael Moore had stated that all of Wright security had some type of badge police, fireman etc. He had also said he used his fire department badge at times.
A (RJ): This whole matter was covered pretty well in the book "Labyrinth." The police can operate out of certain zones you and I cannot do. It was Aright who said he used cops.
(10) In your opinion where does the CHuck Phillips story originate from? What do you think made him write it without any evidence of Biggie Smalls even being in Vegas that night? he made strong allegations about Biggie Smalls paying South Side Crip members 1 million dollars to off Pac and he even alleged that Biggie supplied the weapon. Do you believe any of these stories to be factual?
A (RJ): A reporter is only as good as his story. That's he got burned later and then fired. He goes to where the information goes - where it leads him. It depends on who is feeding him this information. Thats why I have a love/hate thing with Phillips. On one hand, he has made some very good observations on work by Vegas police. On the other hand, it looks like he had a bunch of people lined up like a buffet, who feed him all this "party line" information about not only what "didn't happen", but what "really did happen." I am one of the few who cuts Phillips a break. No one can blame him for believing the party line if he didn't know that was what it was. On the surface, the story about the Crips Bloods, East West thing was all too easy to resist. It just made a ready for TV movie story- revenge, war-all great drama. It's not so exciting if someone was killed for money. But it does happen. In the book we use the analogy of Bugsy Siegel. When your worth as a liability outweighs your value as a contributor, you're on the short list.But its not as epic. And Anton Batey made one (and only one as far as I am concerned) good point: some people would rather believe the bigger story because of Tupac's Legendary status - they don't want to believe it was a matter of something simple. But as we said in the movie someone said it like Batey, just rephrased "people will believe a big lie before they believe a small one". That man was Hitler. The Biggie thing was just BS as it turned out.
(11) Do you believe that Reggie Wright was just following orders and Suge Knight was the actual "mastermind" of the plan?
A (RJ): I have never met Wright. Reggie has shown through the bankruptcy and dozens of litigations he has been involved with, that he will not move unless Knight ok's it.
(12) Have you heard of the "Helicopter theory"? Where someone on the strip stated that by the time they arrived at the scene they were taking Tupac somewhere by helicopter?The official report claims he was taken by ambulance.
A (RJ): Frank would have seen it and others would have seen it. They had to get Tupac out of the car and were with him. Even Knight doesn't say that, and it would be pretty smart of Knight to back the "Tupac may still be alive thing." But even he doesn't go there.
(13) Do you think Death Row was ever going to do Death Row East? Or was this just another scheme to keep Pac onboard?
A (RJ): According to the book "Have Gun Will Travel". which was one of the first ones out on Death Row, there were some genuine gyrations toward making this happen. There were meetings even before Tupac got involved or may have known about DRE. The FBI was opening an investigation on whether DRE was going to be used to supply west coast drugs to New York and the east coast. I think, though that this was the beginning and the end of it. I think it stayed talk for the sake of talk, but after the FBI outed it on the rader, it was never a serious thought. I think Pac and others were told that DRE was coming because it sounded conciliatory. It was already a card that was played to offset tensions or prove that there was no West/East thing. But at one point on (and its hard to say how far it got before it was shit-canned) it looked like a no brainer. But the truth is that it never happened. And it could have happended a dozen times.
(14) Back to Orlando Anderson. Why was he even in Las Vegas that night? His story seems to contridict itself several times. First he was going to the fight of which he had no ticket. Then he said he was just there to gamble. He is from Compton it's very odd he is standing in the lobby of the MGM theatre the same time Tupac is coming out after the fight. Seems like a set up from the start any thoughts?
A (RJ): Cathy Scott has spoken more about this than anyone .She said it looked staged. Why was he there? Who cares. He could have been there for a number of reasons. But his being there in the line of sight as they are leaving the casino and the history between T. Lane and Anderson is a big "co-incidence" (if you believe it is) just like that the White Caddy rolled up past a dozen cars and didn't shoot at he lead car (which was where Suge rode normally), but just started shooting from the back forward and knew without visual inspection that Tupac was in that car and on the passenger side. "Random" events aren't as random in a sequence. Vegas likes you to believe that cards in your favorite card game are "random". But there are certain "house advantages" that take a "random" event and make it a probability.
(15) I know your movies are based on facts and not speculation but do you have any thoughts on all the coincidences after pac's death? For example the song lyrics talking about his plans? The 7 day theory about him foretelling his death? Tupac reading Machiavelli while in prison? The list goes on and on and what is with all the #7's?
A (RJ): The book of Revelation in the Bible speaks of the end of the world. There are all kinds of figurative language and images and symbols in it. Many scholars think that the book was written in code to get past the Roman scrutiny to Christians that were persecuted. They think it was all message not about the literal end of the earth as we know it, but that it was a message that "this too will pass" and that in the end it will be ok for Christians. And it ended up being true. There are alot of sevens in it too. Seven is the most commonly rolled number on dice; thats why you crap out. Seven has a number branded in the culture to have not only literal but symbolic meaning, like a 3 or a 13. I guess like Gene Hackman said in Superman "There are people who read War and Peace and think it's a good book. There are others who can read a fortune cookie and unlock the mysteries of the universe." I think it's pretty simple and really not that unique a motive, that unique an execution, that unique a cover story, and that unique suspect.
(16) There is a song called "Clap" on the internet right now where Tupac is rapping about President Obama and Hillary Clinton running against each other for the Democratic election. have you heard this song if so any thoughts?
A (RJ): I have not heard it. I'll comment when I have.
(17) I know people are always trying to shoot down the alive theories but why do you think so many people still believe Tupac is out there?
A (RJ): Think about the last movie you really enjoyed. It had an end, but did you really want it to be over? Could you have spent another hour in the Avatar Universe? I believe death is the ultimate "end". it's pretty final. As long as people think Pac is alive there is no reason to accept that things end and therefor confront their own mortality.
(18) In your opinion do you think the shooting in NY where Pac was recording late and got shot / robbed in the elevator was a set up by Puffy and Biggie?
A (RJ): We cut it from part 2, but Cox talks about it for a moment. In the book "Have Gun Will Travel", Puffy came out and said (I think to Vibe) that "Pac knew who shot him in NY and why and he accepted it". That on its own was not a big thing, coming from him. but in the interview with Pac's aunt, Cox said everyone knew the guys who did it. She said they were "really bad men" and that they were in prison or dead and everyone knew it, but these guys were so bad no one would cross them.
(19) Any thoughts on the so called last picture taken of Tupac on the strip that night with Suge Knight? Seemed like in the picture he looked really worried about something not his normal self with his normal smile?
A (RJ): Some have alleged that Pac was screaming and leaning out of cars and acting the fool before he got shot and that was how they knew he was in that car with Suge. Our forensic evidence shows that a) he was not in that frame of mind even before Vegas b) witnesses that were actually there never saw that and his security would not have allowed it and would definitely would have said something about it if he had been c) Does he look like he is partying in that picture? They say a picture is worth 1000 words. The book DED ENDZ will have those thousand words.