A man who was exonerated last year for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X is suing New York City for $40 million after two decades behind bars for the notorious crime.
Muhammad Aziz, 84, asked his lawyers to file a lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court on Thursday, citing a false conviction in the murder of the civil rights leader, who was shot dead in Audubon Ballroom in Upper Manhattan at the age of 39. , follow Related press.
The second man unjustly convicted of the assassination, Khalil Islam, has filed an additional complaint on behalf of his estate. The National Registry of Forgiveness Islam served 22 years in prison before his death in 2009.
20 years in prison and 55 years misbranded as the leader killer of the civil rights faction
Aziz’s complaint says that not only did he receive 20 years in prison, he was “unjustly labeled” as the convicted murderer of “one of the most important civil rights leaders in history.” in 55 years.
“(Aziz) spent 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and more than 55 years living with the hardship and grievances of his servant to be accused of being a convicted murderer. one of the most important civil rights leaders in history,” reads Aziz’s complaint.
Aziz and Islam, known at the time as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, and a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim, were found guilty of murdering Malcolm X in 1966 and sentenced to life in prison.
Halim has acknowledged the fatal shooting, but said neither Aziz nor Islam were involved. He was pardoned in 2010, the Associated Press reported.
Beliefs are overturned after the appearance of evidence threatens witnesses, provides evidence
According to the AP, both Aziz’s and Islam’s convictions were overturned in November 2021 after new evidence emerged including suppression of evidence and intimidation of witnesses.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr later apologized for the “serious, unacceptable violation of the law and of the public’s trust”.
Meanwhile, attorneys David Shanies and Deborah Francois, who filed the complaint on behalf of Aziz and Islam, said in court filings that the two men were at their home in the Bronx at the time Malcolm X was arrested. kill.
A spokesperson for the New York City law department referred a request for comment to Mayor Eric Adams, who told the AP in a statement that he believes the overturning of the two men’s convictions is “just” while added that they are “looking into this lawsuit.”
“As someone who has fought for a fairer criminal justice system his entire career, I believe that overturning the convictions of Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam is the rightful outcome. We are reviewing this case.”
Malcolm X, an African-American Muslim minister and prominent civil rights activist, was the spokesman for the Nation of Islam until 1964, a year before his death. He was a strong advocate for Black empowerment and the promotion of Islam in the black community.