On February 21, 2023, the family of the African American activist Malcolm X decided to sue the US government agencies, including the CIA, FBI, and New York Police Department, for playing a role in the assassination of the 1965 civil rights leader. 

Let’s explore the details of the press conference by Malcolm X’s daughters with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.

Malcolm X’s Family to Sue Government Agencies for Conspiring with Assailants and Murdering Civil Rights Leader

Malcolm X’s daughters held a news conference at the location where 58 years ago, the assassination of the civil rights leader Malcolm X took place.

Ilyasah Shabazz, one of the daughters of Malcolm X and administrator of Malcolm X’s estate, spoke at the news conference at Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, stating that the family is currently seeking justice served for the cold murder of their father.

Ilyasah Shabazz filed notices of claim against federal and local level government agencies, the first step under New York law, in pursuing a $100 million lawsuit against the state. The claim states that for more than half a century, government agencies and individuals conspired with each other leading to the wrongful death of Malcolm X.

At the news conference, the civil rights attorney Ben Crump, replied to a journalist when asked whether he believes government agencies conspired to murder Malcolm X. Attorney Ben Crump made it clear by responding that that is what they are alleging.

After the news conference, The Washington Post reached out to the CIA, FBI, New York Police Department, New York District Attorney’s office, Department of Justice, and New York City’s legal department, but they all declined to comment.

The Assassination of Malcolm X: Why Was He Assassinated, and Who Did It?

On February 21, 1965, while addressing the Organization of Afro-American Unity in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, someone from the audience created chaos, forcing Malcolm X’s bodyguards to respond immediately to the disturbance. 

As they moved away from the religious and civil rights leader, a man from the audience rushed toward Malcolm X and shot him in the chest with a sawn-off shotgun while two others started firing semi-automatics on the stage to disperse the crowd. The bodyguards shot one of the people who shot Malcolm X, Talmadge Hayer, and captured him.

When Malcolm X arrived at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, he was already dead, with the postpartum report revealing 21 gunshot wounds across his entire body.

Hayer, who is now a Sunni Muslim going by the name of Mujahid Abdul Halim, confessed to killing Malcolm X. In 1977, Hayer revealed the entire assassination plan that he carried out with four other men who were enraged by Malcolm X’s feud against the Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. 

However, for years, Hayer maintained the stance that the two other people arrested with him, Aziz and Islam, had nothing to do with the murder of Malcolm X and that they were innocent. 

When the New York district attorney began investigating the case, they found that the FBI records suggested that the FBI and New York City Police Department did not disclose exculpatory evidence, which was part of their obligation.

The Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr revealed that the exculpatory evidence, deliberately withheld from the prosecutors and the defendants, implicated other suspects and witnesses who failed to identify defendant Islam. It also suggested that other witnesses in the case were FBI informants.

Malcolm X’s Daughters to Sue CIA, FBI, and NYPD in “Wrongful Death Lawsuit”: Does the Family Have a Valid Case Against the State?

In October 2022, Aziz and the estate of Khalil Islam settled a lawsuit for not receiving a fair trial after the New York district attorney admitted wrongful convictions. 

Both the plaintiffs are set to receive $36 million in damages from New York state. The settlement is an acknowledgment of unconscionable violations of the law by police and is an opportunity for Malcolm’s daughters to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation finally.

Ben Crump, the attorney representing Malcolm’s daughters, stated in the news conference that if the people wrongfully convicted received $36 million in compensation, what should Malcolm’s daughters receive, the ones who suffered the most from the assassination of their father?

Attorney Ben Crump stated that the lawsuit isn’t about triggermen who played a role in assassinating the civil rights leader but the people who conspired with the triggermen to carry this heinous crime. He also referenced J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director who died in 1972, multiple times in the news conference when alleging that high-ranking US officials conspired to kill Malcolm X.

Ilyasah Shabazz spoke briefly during the news conferences stating that her father dedicated his entire life to fighting for human rights and that the truth behind his death will provide the closure his family, followers, and admirers need.

Besides withholding evidence, many historians believe that the FBI, CIA, and other government agencies were behind the assassination of Malcolm X. Many experts hold the opinion that agencies viewed Malcolm X as a dangerous Black radical figure, while others believe that he was already a target.

Whatever the case may be, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were constantly surveilling the civil rights leader. In 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a telegram, which later became public, to the department’s New York office stating, “do something about Malcolm X.”

The FBI and the New York Police Department failed to disclose that they had informants at the scene of the assassination to the prosecutors and were very quick with their investigation, with the desire to wrap things up quickly and close the Malcolm X chapter. 

It will be up to attorney Ben Crump and his legal team to build a strong case by gathering relevant evidence and holding the responsible parties accountable.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.

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