Two Black Men Accused of Killing Malcolm X To Be Exonerated

In Summary

After 55 years, the two men accused of killing Malcolm X will be exonerated following a nearly two-year investigation.  

Two men who were accused and found guilty of murdering Malcolm X will have their convictions thrown out Thursday, according to a report by The New York Times.  

The Manhattan district attorney and lawyers for the two men, Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, made the announcement. The 1965 assassination is one of the most influential killings of a Black leader fighting against injustice and racism.  

RELATED: Attorney Ben Crump And Daughters of Malcolm X Reveal NYPD Officer’s ‘Death Bed’ Confession of NYPD/FBI Conspiracy 

This comes after a 22-month investigation conducted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the lawyers for the two men. Their investigation revealed prosecutors, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department withheld key evidence that would have likely led to Islam and Aziz’s acquittal, the Times reported.  

Malcolm X was killed on Feb. 21, 1965, when three men began shooting in a crowded room at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, where he was speaking. Aziz and Islam spent decades in prison for the murder. 

District attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. apologized on behalf of law enforcement agencies, saying they failed the families of the two men. Vance’s investigation was conducted with the Innocence Project and the office of civil rights lawyer David Shanies. They faced significant challenges as many of the witnesses and trial lawyers involved had died and critical evidence was lost over time.  

RELATED: Malcolm X Biographical Series in the Works With Help From His Daughter 

Aziz and Islam were released from prison in 1985 and 1987, respectively. Islam died in 2009. They spent a combined 42 years in prison, with several of them in solitary confinement. At the time of their conviction, both were married with children. Despite being released in the 80s, being known as Malcolm X’s killers ruined their reintegration into society.  

“This points to the truth that law enforcement over history has often failed to live up to its responsibilities,” Vance said. “These men did not get the justice that they deserved.”  

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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