Malcolm X’s family announced a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), New York Police Department (NYPD) and other government entities for their alleged hand in his 1965 assassination.
February 21, on the anniversary of their father’s death, Ilyasah Shabazz and Qubilah Shabazz held a news conference at The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. They were joined by their legal counsel, civil rights attorneys Benjamin Crump and Raymond Hamlin.
In 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom, where the center is housed today. Fifty-eight years later, his family is still looking for some measure of justice.
“Fifty-eight years ago today, in this very room, one of the greatest thought leaders ever known in the 21st century was assassinated. And since that time, there has been speculation as to who was involved in the assassination of Malcolm X,” Atty. Crump stated.
“We know on November 18, 2021, it was confirmed and substantiated that government agencies—the New York Police Department, the FBI, the district attorney of New York—had factual evidence, exculpatory evidence, that they fraudulently concealed from the men who were wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X, and they also fraudulently concealed that information most importantly from the family of Malcolm X.”
Muhammad Abdul Aziz and the late Khalil Islam were exonerated in 2021 for the murder of Malcolm X. In October 2022, Mr. Aziz, now 85, received a $36 million settlement: $26 million from New York City and $10 million from the state of New York.
“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?” Atty. Crump asked.
Qubilah Shabazz was four years old and Ilyasah Shabazz was two when their father was assassinated. “There were two people here that fateful day, two young girls at the time who are now women and for decades and decades and decades have had to live with the trauma of that day,” Atty. Hamlin said.
With tears in her eyes, Ilyasah Shabazz recounted how excited her mother was to see her husband that day. “She walked in here happy, and she left out shattered,” Ms. Shabazz said.
“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. 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, many who look to him for guidance, for love,” she continued. “And it is our hope that litigation of this case will finally provide some unanswered questions. We want justice served for our father.”
The legal counsel plans on taking depositions of the figures involved that day, as “it’s not just about the trigger man,” Atty. Crump said.
He explained the words and actions of J. Edgar Hoover at the time, who was the director of the FBI. On June 5, 1964, Mr. Hoover uttered, “Do something about Malcolm X,” the attorney cited. “In less than a year, he was assassinated,” he said.
At the time, Mr. Hoover and the government of the United States were also in search of the rise of a Black Messiah, another fact brought up by Atty. Crump. “We have evidence that they infiltrated many civil rights organizations to be able to destroy them and destroy the leaders,” the attorney stated.
Memphis-based Nation of Islam Student Minister Demetric Muhammad is cautiously optimistic about the lawsuit. As a response to the decades of accusations against the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam concerning the assassination of Malcolm X, he authored the book, “But, Didn’t You Kill Malcolm: Myth-Busting the Propaganda Against the Nation of Islam.”
He noted to The Final Call that for the past 50-plus years, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has been the main person identifying the NYPD, FBI, CIA and the overall government as the orchestrators and architects of Malcolm X’s assassination.
“All of our people were affected by the government’s effort to destroy the Nation of Islam and the government’s efforts to destroy the movement for Black liberation in this country, of which Malcolm’s assassination was part and parcel to their overall efforts,” he said. “His assassination is an act, one of many acts, one of many maneuvers, one of many schemes that had been put over with the aim and purpose to keep us from becoming a nation.”
Professor James Small, who was a member of Malcolm X’s Muslim Mosque, Inc. and Organization of Afro-American Unity, is glad the lawsuit has been filed and said it’s long overdue.
“If anybody knows me, I’ve been screaming that the FBI, CIA murdered Malcolm for almost 50 years now,” he told The Final Call. “Anyone who has studied in-depth Malcolm’s life would know that this government that we call a government is the force behind his assassination. Not just the police keeping information back, but the government itself were the ones that orchestrated the assassination of Malcolm X.”
He explained how Malcolm X’s death has been used as a tool to disunite the Black community by causing a breach between the Black Nationalist community, the Nation of Islam and the larger Black community.
“The Nation of Islam did not kill Malcolm X,” he said. “I hope that this lawsuit brings out more information to convince our people who shouldn’t need more convincing that the Nation took a rap it shouldn’t have taken.”