The Hunted Child
Tupac’s public image was defined not through his music or acting prowess but by a series of altercations with the law as before his recording career he had no criminal record. By October 1991 he found himself entangled with the Oakland police filing a $10 million lawsuit over police brutality. Oakland P.D. claimed he was jaywalking and when he swore back at them he was immediately choked, beaten and had his head smashed onto the pavement. The case was eventually settled out of court for $42,000.
By 1992 Tupac moved out to Los Angeles and began amercing himself in the local gang culture. He used this lifestyle as a vehicle for personifying an identity and sponging up stories for upcoming songs. At 5 foot 8 and 150 pounds with fine features and bold eyes he scared nobody, until he purchased his first pistol and began training at shooting ranges. He illustrated his body with tattoos, most famously the “Thug LIFE” emblazoned across his solar-plexus and the image of an assault rifle above it with “50 Niggaz”. His first brush with the law occurred when he returned to Marin City’s fifteenth anniversary celebration and got into a shouting match with young men from the neighbourhood that didn’t end until shots were fired and a six year old child was fatally wounded with a bullet to the head. Tupac’s half-brother was arrested but later released due to insufficient evidence. The only thing remembered about the incident was the national headlines with Tupac and six year old boy shot.
After releasing his follow-up album Pac was high on the fumes of his success and lived like a celebrating gun-toting brat. With an antagonistic temperament Tupac would find himself involved in several more violent incidents in 1993 proving to be very costly in the US courts of law. In March ’93 during a drive into the Fox lot in Hollywood to record a segment for In Living Color, Tupac pulled a gun on the limo driver after the man asked Tupac not to smoke pot inside the vehicle, then after insulting Pac about not having a father-figure role model, he watched on as his entourage beat the man senseless.
Atlanta Police Shooting
The following Halloween, while filming Poetic Justice Tupac was in Atlanta when he got into a shoot-out with police. Tupac came across two off-duty police officers and witnessed them harassing a black motorist in Atlanta on the side of the road. Tupac took it upon himself to aid the motorist and after a fight with the officers he shot both officers with his own gun. One officer was hit in the leg, the other in the buttock. It was later revealed in court both officers were heavily intoxicated and were using guns stolen from the evidence room. Also one of the officers was charged with aggravated assault on the same day as Tupac’s first hearing. The case was dismissed with no charges against Tupac. Once again his public image was growing sour. He was painted as a media villain and ghetto martyr. These building events left Tupac in serious financial peril with legal fees mounting up.
The bad press continued to mount up when he was the target of civil lawsuits relating to the shooting of a Texas state trooper and the paralysis of a woman who was shot by a stray bullet at a near-riot at a concert in Arkansas, blaming the lyrics in his songs. Press headlines grew stronger when he was arrested on sexual assault charges at Thanksgiving. This next period in Tupac’s young professional and personal life would not only challenge his freedom in society, doomed to follow behind the elders in his family but after an orchestrated assassination in New York would leave him fighting for his life in hospital before resuming a prison sentence in Dannemora.
Sexual Assault Case
Accounts of what happened on December 1993 in this event of sexual assault would never be proven due to the victim whose untoward behaviour would leave her character inspiring neither sympathy nor trust in the matter. In New York for the filming of ‘Above the Rim’ Tupac went out club-hopping with new friend Jacques ‘Haitian Jack’ Agnant and it was while at Nell’s nightclub in downtown Manhattan where Tupac claimed he first encountered young Ayanna Jackson on the dancefloor where she unzipped his pants and led him to a dark corner of the club by the penis where she performed oral sex. Jackson claimed Tupac chased her all around the club before cornering her and, using her words: “Pressed my head down onto his penis in a brief three-second encounter.”
The couple had further pursued their relations in Tupac’s hotel room that night, (Whether Pac allegedly physically carried her the distance back without people noticing, despite him being the hottest young face of hip-hop or she went willingly despite apparently being forced to perform oral sex) would be obvious to some. Four days later the girl showed up at the Le Parker Meridian hotel and spent the afternoon with Pac in his suite massaging him before a scheduled performance. He was soon joined by Agnant and friend of the promoter’s. Tupac and friends claimed Jackson was a willing participant in group sex, she claims she was the victim of gang rape. Tupac insisted he left the room disgusted and went to take a nap. The girl, disagreeing with his account, accused him of encouraging the three men, pulling her hair, and sodomizing her. Pac vehemently denied her account. Agnant was represented by an attorney affiliated with the police union and the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Tension grew between Pac and Agnant after Pac made disparaging remarks about the hustler in New York’s Daily News. The case continued over the following year. This left Tupac to attend other pending cases.
On February 1, ’94 Tupac wound up in municipal court in Los Angeles to answer assault charges filed against him by film directors Allen and Albert Hughes after they had both cast him in their film ‘Menace II Society’. When he read the script he considered he had been cast as a sucker and arrived on set with an entourage of gangbangers where Allen was beaten badly while his brother fled the scene. Tupac later pleaded guilty in court and faced sentencing on March 10. Less than twelve hours before his scheduled appearance he was confronted by five Crips at a convenience store on Sunset Boulevard and after one struck Tupac in the face, he grabbed a pair of scissors from a display case and chased after the group down the street in front of dozens of witnesses. The news was spread over the morning papers and national TV crews showed up at his court appearance where prosecutors argued that Mr. Shakur was a young man who could not control his temper. He was sentenced to fifteen days in jail and community service. He immediately flew back to New York after finishing his time.