Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam are innocent of the 1965 murder of Malcolm X – it has now been revealed. The Innocence Project has announced that a joint investigation unearthed new evidence of the men’s innocence, including Federal Bureau of Investigation documents that had been withheld from the defence and prosecution. (News reports)
Malcolm X was gunned down while giving a speech on Feb. 21, 1965, at an event at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. Three men were found guilty of murdering him.
The three men were convicted in 1966. Mr. Aziz, now 83 years old, was paroled in 1985 after serving 19 years in prison. Mr. Islam was paroled in 1987 after 21 years in prison. Mr. Hagan, 80, who was paroled in 2010, continued to say Messrs. Aziz and Islam were innocent and pointed to the involvement of other men in the killing.
‘I told you’
Thomas Hagan confessed to investigators that he fired shots into Malcolm X’s body. However, Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam — the two other men convicted of the murder who were known at the time as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, respectively — always maintained their innocence. Mr. Hagan, who previously was known as Talmadge X Hayer, also told investigators at the time of his arrest that Messrs. Aziz and Islam weren’t involved in the killing, according to court documents.
The revelations followed the 2020 Netflix documentary “Who Killed Malcolm X?” that raised questions about the guilt of two of the men convicted of the assassination.
Not only is this story a good example of the importance of the Innocence Project and investigative journalism; it is also a terrible example of how the criminal justice system (this time in the US) is not to be trusted 100%.
“The assassination of Malcolm X was a historic event that demanded a scrupulous investigation and prosecution but, instead, produced one of the most blatant miscarriages of justice that I have ever seen,” said Barry Scheck, a lawyer for the Innocence Project.