Malcolm X’s relatives filed a lawsuit against federal and state government agencies for allegedly covering up his murder 58 years ago.
The family of late civil rights icon Malcolm X has filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the state of New York, the CIA, and the FBI for allegedly covering up the activist’s assassination in the 1960s. The decision was announced by his relatives and their lawyers at a press conference on Tuesday.
Malcolm X was shot dead on February 21, 1965 while preparing to deliver a speech to the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan.
“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,” Ilyasah Shabazz, his daughter, said, accusing various federal and New York government agencies of concealing evidence that they “conspired to and executed their plan to assassinate Malcolm X.”
“The truth about the circumstances leading to the death of our father is important – not only to his family, but to many followers, many admirers… And it is our hope that litigation of this case will finally provide some unanswered questions.”
Malcolm X’s murder was initially pinned on three members of the Nation of Islam – Muhammad Abdul Aziz, Khalil Islam, and Thomas Hagan – who were all charged, tried, and convicted for the killing. However, after spending over 20 years in prison, in November 2021, Aziz and Islam were exonerated and awarded $36 million for wrongful convictions. That was after the Manhattan district attorney’s offices discovered that prosecutors and the FBI had withheld key evidence that would have acquitted the two men.
Attorneys for Malcolm X’s family have argued that if the government compensated Aziz and Islam, then it should also pay the activist’s daughters who “suffered the most from the assassination.”
Reuters reports that the New York Police Department has said it would not comment on pending litigation, while the FBI and CIA have yet to issue a response.
The murder of Malcolm X has long been the topic of heated debate, with some suspecting that federal authorities had conspired to assassinate the prominent civil rights activist. His killing was one of four major assassinations in the 1960s in the US, coming just two years after the murder of President John F. Kennedy and three years before the killings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.