The family of Malcolm X announced Tuesday that they will file a $100 million wrongful-death lawsuit against numerous government agencies and the New York Police Department alleging that evidence from the civil-rights leader’s murder was concealed.
The announcement was made at the Shabazz Center, the same site where, 58 years earlier, Malcolm X was shot 21 times as he prepared to deliver a speech. At a press conference, civil-rights lawyer Ben Crump, joined by several of the slain civil-rights leader’s daughters, said the NYPD, the FBI, and the CIA “had factual evidence, exculpatory evidence that they fraudulently concealed from the men who were wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X.”
Malcolm X’s death, after his volatile break with the Nation of Islam and its leader, has long been surrounded in mystery and controversy. In 2021, the Manhattan district attorney’s office officially exonerated two men, Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, who were convicted of murder, after it was discovered that law enforcement withheld evidence that might’ve helped their defense at trial, in violation of their constitutional rights. Months later, the city reached a $26 million settlement with Aziz and Islam’s estate, with the state agreeing to pay an additional $10 million. A third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim, confessed to the crime and was sent to jail alongside Aziz and Islam. He long maintained that the two men were not involved and that he worked with other accomplices.
“The rhetorical question is this: If the government compensated the two gentlemen that were wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X with tens of millions of dollars, then what is to be the compensation for the daughters who suffered the most from the assassination of Malcolm X?” Crump said.
Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X’s daughters, spoke at the press conference, her voice cracking as she recalled her late mother’s excitement to hear her father speak that day in 1965 only for her to leave “shattered.”
“For years our family has fought for the truth to come to light concerning his murder and we’d like our father to receive the justice that he deserves,” Shabazz said.
Crump said he intends to seek depositions in this case and said they plan to “follow the evidence where it leads.” He was also asked directly if they were alleging that these government entities were involved in a conspiracy to kill Malcolm X.
“That is what we are alleging, yes,” he said.