One of the two men, Muhammad Aziz, who was cleared last year of murdering civil rights activist Malcolm X in 1965, has sued New York, asking $40 million in damages for the wrongfully convicted conviction.
Two of the three men convicted of the murder, Aziz, 84, and Khalil Islam, were cleared by a judge in November 2021. According to the New York Times, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance discovered after a nearly two-year inquiry that authorities concealed evidence in the prosecution of Aziz and Islam.
Islam and Aziz have consistently maintained their innocence in the murder. Although Islam passed away in 2009, Aziz persisted in trying to cleanse his name. According to the BBC, he is currently suing the government for wrongdoing, malicious prosecution, and the denial of his rights to due process.
On February 21, 1965, while Malcolm X was delivering a speech at an Organization of Afro-American Unity gathering in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, a group of men suddenly charged the stage and fatally shot him multiple times. Three members of the Nation of Islam, including Islam, who was then known as Thomas 15X Johnson, Aziz, who was then known as Norman 3X Butler, and Mujahid Abdul Halim, were detained.
In 1966, they were found guilty of the murder and given a life sentence. When he was detained, Aziz was a 26-year-old father of six children. He was given parole in 1985 after serving 20 years in jail for the crime.
According to the Innocence Project, Halim acknowledged taking part in the murder but insisted that Aziz and Islam were unrelated. Halim revealed his assassination accomplices in 1978. He named four additional men who he claimed were participating. The Innocence Project claimed that a judge at the time denied a request to have the convictions of Aziz and Islam overturned.
Following the Netflix documentary series “Who Killed Malcolm X?” that cast doubt on the convictions, Vance launched an investigation into the matter. According to Vance’s research, significant physical evidence and papers were misplaced over time. The murder weapons could no longer be examined, and numerous investigators, witnesses, and potential suspects have now passed away, according to The New York Times.
According to The New York Times, FBI documents also contained evidence that “directed away” Aziz and Islam and identified other individuals.
This shows that law enforcement has historically frequently fallen short of its obligations, Vance told the Times. The justice that these men deserved was not administered to them.
On his deathbed, a former Black New York Police Department (NYPD) officer wrote a confession letter, which was recently made public. In the letter, it was claimed that the FBI and the department were complicit in Malcolm X’s murder.