The family of Malcolm X want his murder investigation to be reopened after allegedly uncovering evidence that implicates the NYPD and FBI in his death.
The civil rights leader was assassinated on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, New York, during a public address. The three attackers, all Nation of Islam members, one of whom shot him in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun, were arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
However, a deathbed letter from a former undercover NYPD officer claims the police and federal bureau conspired in the murder of Malcolm X.
The letter was penned by Raymond Wood and released posthumously by his cousin. There are no details regarding the date or cause of Wood’s death – however, the letter was purposely held until after his passing out of concerns he’d face repercussions from the authorities.
The letter alleged the police department and FBI made efforts to cover up the details of the assassination. Wood also claimed he’d been tasked with luring the two men managing security at the ballroom away from their posts to commit crimes, so Malcolm X’s killing could go ahead.
The letter, read by three of Malcolm X’s daughters and other members of Wood’s family, The Guardian reports, states: ‘Under the direction of my handlers. I was told to encourage leaders and members of the civil rights groups to commit felonious acts.’
Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X’s daughters, said: ‘Any evidence that provides greater insight into the truth behind that terrible tragedy should be thoroughly investigated.’
In 2011, a former NYPD detective wrote: ‘The truly guilty – not the shooters but those who sent them – escaped all accountability. The investigation was botched.’
The assassination was also the subject of Who Killed Malcolm X?, a six-part docuseries released by Netflix last year, prompting Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to review the convictions made in the case, again amid claims of a cover-up by law enforcement. It’s hoped the case will be re-opened in pursuit of ‘restorative justice’.
While the FBI has yet comment on the allegations in light of the letter, an NYPD statement read: ‘Several months ago, the Manhattan district attorney initiated a review of the investigation and prosecution that resulted in two convictions for the murder of Malcolm X.’
It added: ‘The NYPD has provided all available records relevant to that case to the district attorney. The department remains committed to assist with that review in any way.’
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]