(PRWEB) May 22, 2004
An Interview With Cathy Scott
Cathy Scott; she is a true crime author, award winning journalist, public speaker on crime reporting and research, a columnist and a teacher of journalism at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. No where in her resume is the phrase tabloid writer.
So why is this lady so questioned about the Tupac autopsy photo that she has published in her book 'The Killing of Tupac Shakur'? There are many who say the photo is a fake. Those who say that are really saying that Ms. Scott is really mis-leading people with this photo.
Like I said , in her resume you will not find any mention of her working for a tabloid. You will find a professional who has a very respectable background in journalism. So that should let you know if she reports the autopsy photo is real, then it is real.
I had a chance to ask Ms. Scott some questions. I have seen some interviews with her where the site that is interviewing her tries to dis-spell everything she says about the Tupac murder. I wanted to approach her as a professional, and with the hopes of learning some of the facts, not to speculate about what if's or maybe's. She is informed on the Tupac murder because of massive research she has done. Visit her web site at http://www.cathyscott.com/home.htm and learn more about this amazing woman.
RB - Thank you for taking time for this. I appreciate it.
Cathy Scott - My pleasure.
RB - First about the photo; I know you recieved a press release from the web site http://www.ThugLifeArny.com about a new web list site that encourages web sites to list there site. The sites listed on that list do not have the Tupac autopsy photo on their site and/or they want to see the photo taken off all the true reppin Tupac sites. Really most would like to see the photo taken off the net. What do you think about the action this web site is trying to encourage?
Cathy Scott - I'm fine with the press release, but for a different reason. Many sites have lifted the photo from my book, The Killing of Tupac Shakur, and posted it on their sites without permission, which is against federal copyright laws. Because of that, I have no control over whether the sites are altering the photo, enhancing or distorting it in any way.
RB - The coroner has confirmed its authenticity. I have heard you were offered $100,000 dollars for it and still some feel it is a fake picture. Is there anything left to say to make people believe this is a real photo?
Cathy Scott - It wasn't about money. It was about, through the actual autopsy photo taken during Tupac's medical examination in the Clark County Coroner's Office, in response to reports that Tupac was alive. For those who want to go on believing that Tupac faked his own death, there's no convincing them. At this point, it doesn't really matter what anyone believes. I know it's real. If people don't take my word for it, then that's their problem, not mine. I would never put something out there that's fake. At the time, I was a working member of the press, reporting for the Las Vegas Sun, a mainstream newspaper. I had no idea the impact the photo was going to have. It is real, official and authentic, taken during the medical examination of Tupac's body during his autopsy. My publisher and I included the photo in The Killing of Tupac Shakur only because of articles in the mainstream press quoting fans that Tupac faked his own death.
RB - Was the original photo a color photo? Where did the black and white one come from?
Cathy Scott - Yes, the original photo is in color. It was reproduced in black and white for the book. It's the same photo, just in B & W and on inexpensive paper used in paperbacks (thus, it's not as high quality as the original color photo).
RB - The photos that are on the web, how did some sites get the photo?
Cathy Scott - Those sites have scanned the photo from my book -- basically stolen it from me. Scanning from a copy of the original makes their photos third- and fourth-generation copies, which explains the lack of clarity in the copies. No site was ever given the original.
RB - I am not against the photo being in your book, after all it is news and it has a place in your book and people know it is there. But when sites put it up so kids can stumble on it, that is where I have a problem with it. Is there anything you can do as the 'owner' of the picture to have them taken down since you have the copyright to it?
Cathy Scott - My publisher has contacted Webmasters in the past, requesting that they remove the photo. A few have. It's also possible to notify site hosts that a site they are hosting is posting a photo without explicit permission from the Copyright holder (in this case, me). Because of Internet rules and legal issues, the hosts could remove the photos. Afeni Shakur did that when she discovered commercial photos of her son posted without her permission all over the Web. She threatened to sue if they didn't remove them. They were removed.
RB - You have said that the coroner's report was given to you in error and that you were the only one to get it because it was an ongoing homicide investigation. Does that mean the coroner's reports we see on the web also came from you as a source to?
Cathy Scott - That's not quite how it happened. As a crime reporter, I often went to the coroner's office to pick up reports. In this case, just as I had in other homicide cases, I went to the coroner's office and requesteda copy of the coroner's report for Lesane Crooks, Tupac's birth name. The clerk behind the desk, apparently not recognizing the name, gave it to me for a $5 processing fee, the same administrative fee it costs for any other person's report. After I got back to the newsroom, I received a call from the clerk saying that because the homicide investigation was still open, she should not have given me the coroner's report. She asked if I could return it. I didn't.
RB - What kind of feedback do you recieve over the autopsy photo?
Cathy Scott - It varies. Most people want me to e-mail them a jpeg of the original color photo. I have not done that. If I did, it would fly all over the Internet.
RB - Has it ever got out of hand? ( I mean has anyone ever threatened you over them)
Cathy Scott - I've gotten threatened, mostly just before the book came out. But once people read it and saw that the book celebrates Tupac's life as well as provides information about his murder, they changed their stance.
RB - The Killing of Tupac Shakur is in its Second Edition. Along with the first edition how many total units has the book sold?
Cathy Scott - I'm not exactly sure how many copies have sold. I do know that it's in the hundreds of thousands. It was on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list for several weeks, as well as on Amazon.com's top 75 books for many weeks. I don't think people are necessarily aware that there's a second edition with updated information and additional and new interviews, including with Frank Alexander, Tupac's bodyguard. It's about 100 pages thicker with fresh information about the investigation.
RB - When the murder of Tupac took place you were a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun. Were you a Tupac fan then or was this just another 'story' at first?
Cathy Scott - I knew who Tupac was from watching his videos on MTV. I wasn't what you would call a fan. I am today, though. I had no idea the story would get as big as it did. Neither did the police. They didn't even know how to pronounce Tupac's name. Most had not heard of him until the shooting.
RB - Did you have any idea at first, that 7 years and many hours of research later you would still be talking about the news story of that night?
Cathy Scott - No. In fact, Tupac is the reason I am an author and, at this point, have written five books. His story was my first book. I was encouraged by writers back East to write his biography. Then Biggie was killed. I wrote articles about The Notorious B.I.G.'s death too and turned it into a book titled "The Murder of Biggie Smalls."
RB - Your book has a lot of good information. Is there anything that you learned in your research that surprised even you?
Cathy Scott - Thank you. The biggest surprise was the lackadaisical attitude coming from the police investigators. They truly could care less who Tupac was and whether his murder ever got solved. At least that's the feeling I came away with.
RB - How many hours of research would you estimate in the Tupac investigation alone?
Cathy Scott - I couldn't even begin to add it up. It's up there. I tried to get to the bottom of it. from document research to interviewing friends, relatives, police, traveling out of town or calling people. You name it, I did it.
RB - Over the last few years there have been some stories break about the murders of Tupac and Biggie. There was Kirk Burrowes saying P. Diddy put the hit out on Tupac. The FBI is investigating allegations that a rogue Los Angeles police officer orchestrated the slaying of Biggie with "Suge" Knight, according to court documents and law enforcement sources. Russell Poole is involved in the FBI thing. Do you have any updates on all these on going investigations?
Cathy Scott - I've interviewed several Compton, Calif., gang detectives. They tell me the Suge Knight allegations were drummed up by one disgruntled LAPD police officer, who has since left the force. The LAPD extensively investigated those allegations and came up empty. They also looked into whether Sean Combs had anything to do with it. There's absolutely no evidence to back up either theory. It makes for a nice story, but there's no truth to it. All evidence points to Orlando Anderson being the shooter and three other Crips members in the car with him that night. Orlando went home and bragged on the streets of Compton about shooting Tupac, according to the gang cops. Orlando was arrested a month later and had a Glock in his possession. Tupac was killed with a 40-caliber Glock. And Orlando had no reason to be in Las Vegas that night -- he didn't attend the Tyson fight. So why was he there?
RB - In all the research, did Michael 'Harry O' Harris's name ever come up?
Cathy Scott - Yes, because he was a financial backer in the original Death Row Records label.
RB - Did you uncover any relation between the murder of Tupac and the 'Bounty Hunters' street gang?
Cathy Scott - The Bounty Hunters are a sect of the Bloods street gang in Los Angeles. Gang members appear to be the ones who killed Tupac, but Crips, not Bloods. Suge has been over the years widely believed to be associated with the Bloods.
RB - Have you looked into the murder of Yafea Fula as being possibly connected to Tupac's murder, instead of what they are calling an accident?
Cathy Scott - I think everybody's afraid to talk about it, out of fear for their own lives -- including members of the Outlawz -- so they're saying it was an accident. Let's be clear: Yafea Fula was killed, shot in the back of his head at close range. He was found slumped against a wall on the third floor of a low-income housing project where his girlfriend lived. The police captain I interviewed immediately afterward and several times again never once mentioned the word "accident." He called it gang-related, then later back-pedaled from that conclusion. Law enforcement immediately said it was unrelated to Tupac's killing, even though they had barely started their investigation. It's pretty much a no-brainer. Yafea, or Kadafi, was the only person who publicly said he could identify Tupac's killer. Then, lo and behold, two months later, Yafea is himself shot to death in the head, gangland style. Pretty big coincidence, don't you think?
RB - So am I safe to presume that your professional conclusion to the Tupac murder is that it was just street violence that took Tupac's life? No big conspiracy or faked death plots.
Cathy Scott - Yes. Some things are more simple than they appear. It was street justice, for whatever reason.
RB - Do you see a 'final chapter' to Tupac's murder that will , or should end all the speculation of fake photos, alive theory's and a conspiracy? Or is it your opinion that it has already been written?
Cathy Scott - I don't believe Tupac's murder will ever officially be solved. The record companies help keep the theories of his death alive, because it helps sell albums. Fans can't wait to buy a new CD to see if there are any new so-called "clues." It's all hype, but it doesn't mean anything.
RB - I know you interviewed Afeni Shakur early in your research. Have you spoken to her recently?
Cathy Scott - No. Not lately.
RB - Have you seen Tupac: Resurrection?
Cathy Scott - - Yes. It gives an unbelievably real look into who Tupac really was. He was the voice of his generation and, I believe, always will be. He was so bright, so intellectual, so talented. It's a shame he was killed. It's true when people say he was the Malcolm X of his generation. Tupac spoke before groups about civil rights. He wanted more opportunities for black people. Who knows what he could have accomplished had he lived. He was a charismatic presence, sure of himself. He was self-educated with an intellect far older than his years.
RB - I hear you have a new book coming out. A follow up book about Tupac and Biggie. Any date for a release on it?
Cathy Scott - It's Compton-related, gang-related and rap-related. No dates yet. I'll keep you posted.
RB - Will there be any 'new' information in it?
Cathy Scott - Yes. Lots about the streets, Tupac when he was younger and when he hung out there, Suge Knight, Eazy E, DJ Quik, Dr Dre, Ice Cube, Dre'sta, all those guys who came up on the streets of Compton.
RB - How long have you been teaching?
Cathy Scott - Three years. I'm an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Many of my journalism students have read my Tupac book.
RB - I read an interview a Tupac site did with you a while back. The person interviewing you seemed a 'lil rude to me, but you handeled it like a professional. Is it hard to sit and listen to people; with no real reporting or writing experience, pick your work apart and question it?
Cathy Scott - Sometimes. I try to roll with the punches, but I'm not always successful at it. Some people think I'm pompous. I'm pretty straighforward, so that's probably why.
RB - Out of all the different jobs you do, if you could only do one of them, which one would you pick and why?
Cathy Scott - Newsreporting. I like to write about the underdog and tell his or her story. In many respects, Tupac was an underdog, because there were people who felt threatened by him.
RB - If Cathy Scott was not blessed with her ability in writing, speaking or being a journalist, what would she be doing instead?
Cathy Scott - Probably an artist. I was an art major for two years, plus I took every art class available to me when I was in high school. I started painting when I was 7. I gave it up long ago but have always thought about taking it back up. I don't have time now, though.
RB - In hindsight, has all the work on the Tupac murder been worth it? Would you go thru it again?
Cathy Scott - Tupac's life story took my direction on another path, to researching and writing books. For that I am grateful. Yes, I'd go through it again, and take all the verbal abuse from the police and coroner's office for releasing Tupac's authopsy photo. At one point, I was told by a higher up in the police department that I had a tail (cop car following me) and my phone tapped. My response? If that's all they're worried about, trying to find out who leaked one photo, then there's something wrong with the system.
RB - Do you have any other books coming out besides the one mentioned earlier?
Cathy Scott - Yes, I'm working on a mob-related book as well, about a Chicago-related mobster in Las Vegas during the Mafia's heyday here. The proposal is with an agent.
RB - Are you doing mostly free lance writing now or are you with a paper?
Cathy Scott - I write a weekly column for Las Vegas City Life (http://www.lvcitylife.com) called "Crime & Punishment," plus I freelance for Reuters news service, occasionally for the New York Times, and also for a variety of magazines.
RB - We will be watching for the new books. Is there anything I have failed to mention that you feel needs to be said - either about the Tupac murder or anything else we have spoken about. Or for that matter anything that you feel needs to be said at all?
Cathy Scott - Nope, you covered it well.
RB - Well I know people can order the book The Killing of Tupac Shakur the revised and expanded edition on your site. - http://www.cathyscott.com/home.htm , And they also can check out your other books and leave a message for you there to. I like that idea, I like the idea that you are reachable and open. You are very professional and I hope your words here will help put to rest some of the 'talk' and speculation that is running on the net. I wish you the best. Thank you for the hard work you put into this book. There is a lot of information that we would not have if it wasn't for you. I just wish people would realize that and stop trying to tear it apart. I for one ,and I know there are many more appreciate your research and reporting on Tupac. Again THANK YOU so much for this time with you......Peace
Cathy Scott - Thank you for the opportunity. Good luck with your site.
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