The LAPD said it had opened an internal affairs investigation into whether an officer turned away a key witness, days after the murder of rapper and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle, when she tried to give police critical information about the case.
“Details are not authorized for release,” a department spokesperson explained Monday in a message, as pending police misconduct cases are kept secret under California law.
NBCLA reported last Thursday that the witness said she was sent away from the LAPD’s 77th Street Station by a desk officer, according to grand jury testimony. The officer was not identified by name in the testimony or by the department.
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The witness said she told the desk officer her car had been shown in news broadcasts on television and she had important information about the case.
“And then one of the police officers is like, ‘well don’t work about it,’ you know, ‘don’t listen to the news,’ you know. And then my mom said, ‘well she needs to talk to somebody.’ But he said, ‘don’t worry about it.’ So we just left,” she told an LA County Grand Jury in early May. The witness testified anonymously and under an immunity agreement, prosecutors said.
Her account was part of what led to the indictment of Eric R. Holder on charges he murdered Hussle and attempted to murder two other men wounded in the same shooting March 31 outside Hussle’s clothing store. Holder, 29, has pleaded not guilty.
The witness testified that she saw Holder with two handguns before and after the shooting and later helped rent a motel room for him.
On June 27, LA Superior Court Judge Robert Perry unsealed transcripts of the grand jury proceeding after considering objections from the prosecution and defense. Both sides said they worried about the release of too much detail about the case.
Judge Perry said he believed Holder could receive a fair trial even after the public was able to review the evidence presented by prosecutors during the secret hearing.
The transcripts revealed several witnesses testified they overheard bits of the conversations between Hussle and Holder prior to the shooting, and said the two exchanged words about, “snitching,” just before the shots were fired.
One witness said he heard Hussle warning Holder, in somewhat cryptic language, that people believed Holder had been cooperating with law enforcement.
"Nipsey was like, 'Man, you know, they got some paperwork on you, you know. I haven’t read it, you know. Like you my bro, you know. Like maybe you need to take care of that, you know,’” the witness said.
The getaway driver told the grand jury she heard part of the conversation, but said she thought Holder had challenged Hussle about whether he had ever been an informant for police. The LAPD has said the shooting was the result of a personal dispute between the men.