By Amanda Mars. The country
The story of one of the most momentous crimes of the American 20th century, the assassination of the African-American leader Malcolm X in 1965, it just took a 180 degree turn. Two of the three men convicted in the case, who spent decades in prison, were exonerated after a nearly two-year investigation triggered in the wake of a Netflix documentary series that addressed loopholes in the verdict.
Historians and academics always warned of the mistake that justice had made. Cyrus R. Vance Manhattan District Attorney commissioned the review in 2020 after details of the alibis of those who will soon be cleared were known.
Is about Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam named Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson at the time of the events. Aziz, now 83, was released in 1985, while Islam was released in 1987 and passed away in 2009. Both always defended their innocence. The third condemned, Mujahid Abdul Halim (who was then known as Talmadge Hayer or Thomas Hagan), had admitted his guilt in the death, but had stated that the other two were not part of the plot.
On February 21, 1965, as Malcolm X was about to give a speech at the Auduborn Ballroom in New York, three men shot and killed him in front of his wife and daughters.
The doubts that the investigation generated from the beginning gave rise to all sorts of alternative theories to crime; if it was all part of a government conspiracy, in the heat of the fight for civil rights in USA or of devotees of the Nation of Islam, from whom X had separated a year before, while the innocent paid for it.
In an interview with The New York Times who broke the news, prosecutor Vance apologized on behalf of the security forces. “What we can do is recognize the error, the severity of the error,” he said. “This points to the truth that law enforcement has often failed in their responsibilities,” he added.
The radical struggle of Malcolm X agitator of black separatism and fierce discourse against white oppression, places him in a type of struggle antagonistic to that of Martin Luther King which did not prevent him from being assassinated, just three years later, in Memphis.
The documentary that has lit the fuse for this impending exoneration, based on the investigation of Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, is titled ‘Who Killed Malcolm X?’. That question remains unanswered.
A set of FBI documents contained items implicating other suspects in the crime. Prosecutors did not report the presence of undercover agents in the theater at the time of the crime. Other files reveal that a journalist from The New York Daily News had received a call that morning warning of the attack.