Number 145 / September 1997

Copland ....
"The Takedown of Tupac" by Connie Bruck in the July 7 New Yorker is a sprawling mix of essential fact and at least partial fiction (the bizarre notion that the music industry can be characterized as black thugs ripping off honest, hard-working white executives). Most important, Bruck establishes the likelihood that Tupac's sexual assault case (and, by extension, his attempted assassination in New York) was a set-up by New York City police. Bruck details the pathological hatred police and prosecutors had for Tupac. She explains that Jacques Agnant (Haitian Jack), who Tupac accused of being an informer on his final album, The Don Killuminati, was arrested with Tupac in the "date rape" case that sent Tupac to prison. Yet Haitian Jack's case was severed and the indictment against him dismissed. His lawyer was Paul Brenner, who had worked for the Policemen's Benevolent Association and bragged that "the police are friends of mine." Ayanna Jackson, the nineteen-year-old woman who brought the assault charges against Tupac , says that Haitian Jack told her, as Tupac was led away, that he "would hate to see what happened to Mike [Tyson] happen to Tupac."

Bruck reports that Tyson called Tupac from prison and warned him to watch out for Haitian Jack. Bruck does not mention what may have prompted the call: After Tyson's release from prison, five members of his jury said they wanted to change the verdict when they found out that defense evidence had been suppressed that showed Tyson's alleged victim, Desiree Washington, had been willingly going at it hot and heavy with Tyson in a limo and that, contrary to her testimony, Washington had a financial agreement with a civil attorney.

The parallels are eerie: Two black male celebrities who are hated by the police and are well known by Haitian Jack, two "victims" who sue for civil damages, two prosecutors with obvious agendas beyond determining guilt and innocence. One black celebrity dead and one reeling, at least partly as a result of his false imprisonment.

Connie Bruck has opened the door much wider toward a full understanding of the ultimate forces at work here. Now someone else has to finish the job.

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