The pursuit of reparatory justice for the family of Malcolm X, assassinated 58 years ago, continues with the introduction by the family attorneys of a new—never heard before—eyewitness to the killing.
At a July 25 press conference at The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in New York, lawyers led by civil rights attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Ray Hamlin introduced the witness, Mustafa Hassan. He was on Malcolm X’s security detail and a member of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), founded in 1964 by the slain leader.
“The purpose of this press conference is to continue to reveal the truth in the conspiracy to assassinate Malcolm X,” said Attorney Crump.
In attendance were two of Malcolm X’s daughters, Dr. Ilyasah Shabazz and Gamilah Shabazz. Atty. Crump said the aim is to get closer to the truth of what really happened and get “some small measure of justice,” for the Shabazz family.
At the press conference, the roles of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and special services of the N.Y. Police Department (The Bureau of Special Services and Investigations known as BOSSI) were called into question in the February 21, 1965 assassination. The tragedy placed innocent—but now exonerated—men to prison, disrupted families, caused a gaping wound in the Black community for decades and falsely stigmatized the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
The governmental agencies had factual and exculpatory evidence that they fraudulently concealed from the family of Malcolm X and the men wrongly convicted of crimes surrounding the assassination, said Atty. Crump’s law firm in a statement.
Early this year in February, attorneys filed a notice of claim with intent to sue government agencies and the New York Police Department for the assassination and alleged fraudulent concealment of evidence surrounding Malcolm X’s murder.
“What do we know,” said Mr. Crump, on July 25, “that it’s not foreign to you all … the FBI had many informants in the Audubon Ballroom on that tragic day. We know that they withheld the information and did not let anybody know; sent a directive that nobody is to reveal our presence in the Audubon Ballroom where Malcolm X was assassinated,” he said.
The remarks and affidavit of Mr. Hassan, 84, added to the U.S. government’s handprint. Using well publicized stock video and photos from the scene, Mr. Hassan implicated the New York City Police Department, F.B.I., and C.I.A. in the act.
Mr. Hassan, who was 26 years old in 1965 said during the ensuing melee at the Audubon Ballroom, he attempted to stop one of the armed men from fleeing the scene. The gunner, later identified Talmadge Hayer, who was convicted for the murder was attacked by Malcolm X’s followers outside where police intervened to stop the angry crowd of supporters. But for Mr. Hassan, it was the words and actions of the police that sparked suspicion in his mind about the assassination.
“He was being beaten by Malcolm’s followers while a group of policemen who suddenly showed up on the scene, asking: ‘Is he with us?’ while at the same time holding back Malcolm’s followers from beating him,” Mr. Hassan recalled.
“From my vantage point this was an attempt by the police to assist in him getting away,” he said. “Rather than allow the man to escape, I reached out and grabbed this man by his collar to prevent him from escaping,” he explained. Mr. Hassan said while he was holding Mr. Hayer, the police tried to come between them. There was “no doubt in my mind” he was “NYPD, CIA, FBI … definitely working for some government establishment,” he told reporters.
Authorities never questioned Mr. Hassan at the scene, nor in the nearly six decades since. When asked why is he coming forth now, he said to support the Shabazz family seeking financial redress for decades of psychological trauma, pain, and anguish over the killing.
The Shabazz family wants the “truth to be known” and “history books to reflect the orchestration of the assassination of our father” and “justice to be served,” said Ilyasah Shabazz, representing her family. She said what history has recorded is inaccurate.
Malcom X was assassinated while addressing an audience inside the then Audubon Ballroom in front of his wife and young daughters. The link between his death and federal and New York government agencies has long been questioned. Notorious tactics of the U.S. government included COINTELPRO, the FBI counterintelligence program to destroy Black organizations, leaders and to stop the rise of a Black messiah is well documented.
“This is about an awareness based on what’s been confirmed by Mr. Hassan that members of law enforcement had to have been aware of other people that were working along with them to potentially have involvement in the assassination of Malcolm X,” said Attorney Hamlin. “Otherwise, why say ‘Is he with us?’ That’s the whole point,” he added.
Clearly, there was an awareness on their part, that there were people involved who were and weren’t police officers, he said.
While evidence is being unfolded over time, inroads are being made such as the 2021 exoneration of the innocent Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, members of the Nation of Islam who spent several decades in prison for the murder. It is known that informants working in the BOSSI unit were present around Malcolm X and his organizations. Since the assassination it’s been revealed that these informants were isolated from knowing one another.
Eugene Roberts was in an infamous photograph trying to resuscitate Malcolm after the attack. Subsequently, Mr. Roberts before his death in 2009 in interviews spoke about being in the Audubon Ballroom as a NYPD officer on special assignment for BOSSI, and said he knew he was not the only informant there.
In February 2021, a press conference was held outlining a confession by Ray Wood, an undercover NYPD officer and infiltrator of Black organizations, which cast additional light on the government’s hand in the killing of Malcolm X and prompted renewed demands that all files related to the killing of the Black nationalist leader—especially the full FBI files—be made public.
Mr. Wood said a federal agent directed him to go to the Audubon Ballroom and observe something that would happen. He said he watched as the fatal shooting took place and the FBI and the NYPD were involved. A letter from Mr. Wood shared how he was assigned to infiltrate Black organizations throughout New York City. Mr. Wood died in late 2020 and his memoir, “The Ray Wood Story: Confessions of a Black NYPD Cop on the Assassination of Malcolm X,” was released in 2021.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam has long called for the government to open all the files concerning Malcolm X. Although it has been a long, painful struggle, the recent developments brings a measure of justice to the Black community, and the Nation of Islam, which have been stigmatized by false accusations, lies and disinformation by the U.S. government.
While some may still accuse and blame the N.O.I. for the assassination of Malcolm X—even as more evidence vindicates the 93-year-old Nation, its Eternal Leader the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and His National Representative, Minister Farrakhan—those efforts are further collapsing.
This government lies of N.O.I. involvement, while hiding its hands and the widespread pain it caused was by design, N.O.I. International Representative Abdul Akbar Muhammad told The Final Call in a 2021 interview.
“All of the young students who were tossed between their love of Minister Farrakhan and their love of Malcolm as the patron saint of liberation struggle, these students were torn. They loved Malcolm, and they love Minister Farrakhan, and the enemy was showing them that Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad were enemies to our people, and so forth, and they planned all that and worked it for years,” said Min. Akbar Muhammad.