Rapper-turned-film-star Ice Cube is reported to have taken a starring role -- ostensibly as a bad cop -- in the upcoming film about the Los Angeles Police Department's "Rampart Scandal" that rocked the city in the late 1990s with allegations that gang officers shot and beat suspects, planted evidence and stole narcotics.
In a strange twist of fate, Cube recorded for Death Row records in the mid-1990s (the scandal started about 1997): A few of the officers connected to the scandal were alleged to be on the payroll of Death Row boss Marion "Suge" Knight, and a civil lawsuit contended that those cops were connected to the 1997 shooting death of rapper Notorious B.I.G. outside the Peterson Automotive Museum in Miracle Mile.
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While we first reported that the film was being made for television, its roster of stars makes it feel more like a big-screen release: Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster are also on-board, as is Oscar-winning director Oren Moverman, according to the website Boombox.
The screenplay was written by L.A.'s crime-writing laureate, James Ellroy.
The union representing Los Angeles police has expressed concern about the film. The Los Angeles Police Protective League argues that the scandal was caused by a few bad apples in the Los Angeles Police Department and was not as widespread in the Rampart Devision as is believed.
"We take issue with the broader characterization of a Rampart scandal, which should have been renamed long ago as the Rafael Pérez scandal," the LAPPL stated in a blog post. "Because after all was said, written and investigated, the Rampart 'scandal' resulted in four convictions - only two of which were for corruption. Also, as a result of Pérez's lies, a federal court upheld a $15 million jury verdict for three Los Angeles police officers who were falsely arrested and prosecuted."