Last month marked the 56th anniversary of the assassination of Malcom X. Since that fateful day back in 1965, controversy has swarmed the case with conspiracy theories abounding. The official story happens to be one of the most flawed versions.
According to the official story, Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little in 1925, was assassinated by rival Black Muslims on February 21, 1965 while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.
Three members of the Nation of Islam (NOI) — Talmadge Hayer or Thomas Hagan (a.k.a Mujahid Abdul Halim), Norman Butler (a.k.a Muhammad Abdul Aziz) and Thomas Johnson (a.k.a Khalil Islam) — were convicted of his murder in 1966 — despite glaring inconsistencies in the case.
Officials at the time of his murder claimed Malcolm’s assassination was the result of an ongoing dispute between him and the NOI. Though Malcolm had left the group in 1964 on bad terms, Butler (Aziz) and Johnson (Islam) have consistently professed their innocence, and scholars who have studied the case have raised doubts about the killing’s circumstances.
What’s more, there was no evidence linking Butler or Johnson to the crime. Butler even had an alibi for the time of the murder: He was at home resting after injuring his leg. This was backed up by a doctor who had treated him and who took the stand during the trial. Nonetheless, all three men were found guilty in 1966 and sentenced to life in prison. Case closed.
Following the release of a Netflix documentary series last year, that delved into these doubts, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced that his office was going to review the case. Little has come from this investigation and it looked like more lip service from officials.
Then, last week, a letter was released, reportedly written by Ray Wood who was an undercover police officer at the time. Wood’s attorney and family claim Wood wrote the letter on his deathbed confessing the NYPD and the FBI conspired to kill Malcolm X.
According to Wood’s cousin, Reggie Wood, who released the letter, Ray Wood wrote it after being diagnosed with stomach cancer back in 2011. His wishes were that the letter be released after his death. Because Ray Wood would go into remission, Reggie did not release the letter until now.
“For 10 years I’ve carried this confession secretly in fear of what could happen to my family and myself if the government found out what I knew,” Reggie Wood said….