Malcolm, a firebrand in his lifetime who laid the intellectual foundations for the Black Power and black consciousness movements in the US, was assassinated by gunmen as he gave a lecture at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem.
Critics have long alleged that a flawed investigation into Malcolm’s 1965 killing sent the wrong men to jail.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York has announced it will launch a review of the investigation into the 1965 assassination of civil rights leader Malcolm X that could potentially lead to a reinvestigation of the case.
Three members of the Nation of Islam were later arrested for the killings. Despite previously helping to lead the group, which mixed black nationalism with Islamic teachings, the killing came after Malcolm had a falling out with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad over the organization’s political direction. Malcolm had faced death threats and his home was firebombed shortly before he was killed.
Questions of police and prosecutorial mistakes and misconduct have long loomed over the investigation, with many believing two of the three men found guilty were wrongfully convicted. Meanwhile, critics allege the shoddy law enforcement had let others involved in the killing walk free.
The Innocence Project, a non-profit group working with a civil rights lawyer on behalf of one of the convicted men, now 81-year-old Muhammad Abdul Aziz, said the review of the investigation came “in light of new information uncovered” in the Netflix documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X? which premiered on Friday and probes unanswered questions in the case.
A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said his office decided to “begin a preliminary review of the matter” after Vance met representatives from the Innocence Project and Aziz’s lawyer.
The review “will inform the office regarding what further investigative steps may be undertaken”, spokesman Danny Frost said in a statement.
The Netflix documentary follows Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a Washington, DC, activist as he investigates Malcolm’s killing and uncovers information that may suggest the wrong men went to prison.
Muhammad, on Facebook, said he was pleased to see that prosecutor Casolaro had been assigned to the case.
“I am feeling more confident by the day that Muhammad Abdul Aziz, the former Norman 3X Butler, will be exonerated for the murder of Malcolm X,” he wrote shortly after the review of the investigation had been announced.
“We are grateful that District Attorney Vance quickly agreed to conduct a review of the conviction of Muhammad Aziz,” said Barry Scheck, the co-founder of the Innocence Project, in a statement.
“Given the historical importance of this case and the fact that our client is 81 years old, we are especially encouraged that Mr. Vance has assigned two highly respected prosecutors, Peter Casolaro and Charles King, to work on this re-investigation,” said Scheck.
Written By Precious Paul