Malcolm X family releases letter they say shows NYPD, FBI conspired in assassination

The late Malcolm X’s daughters on Saturday said they have uncovered evidence the FBI and New York Police Department arranged his 1965 assassination.

Attallah, Qubilah and Ilyasah Shabazz joined civil rights lawyer Ben Crump and said former NYPD officer Raymond Wood had confessed on his deathbed to involvement in the alleged conspiracy, CBS News reported.

Wood, a Black former officer who was on duty Feb. 21, 1965, the day of the civil rights leader’s death, said in a January 2011 letter that he had "participated in actions that in hindsight were deplorable and detrimental to the advancement of my own black people."


In the letter, Wood said his superiors in the department directed him to entrap members of Malcolm X’s security team into crimes that would lead to them being arrested and unavailable to provide security on the day. Wood denied knowing Malcolm X was the target of the plot.

"Any evidence that provides greater insight into the truth behind that terrible tragedy should be thoroughly investigated,” Ilyasah Shabazz said in the news conference.

Three members of the Nation of Islam, with which Malcolm X had publicly broken shortly before his killing, were convicted in his assassination. Last year, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. announced his office would review the convictions. Vance’s office said in response to Wood’s allegations that his office’s "review of this matter is active and ongoing," according to CBS.

The NYPD, meanwhile, said it has "provided all available records relevant to that case to the District Attorney.”

Malcolm X’s assassination has long been the subject of speculation about law enforcement involvement, with people noting the seeming ease with which the gunmen were able to enter the ballroom. The Nation of Islam was among the organizations targeted by COINTELPRO, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI program aimed at sabotaging predominantly leftist political organizations.

In a statement Monday, William Sweeney, Assistant Director in Charge for the FBI’s New York office, said “Over the past several months, we have worked cooperatively with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to assist in its review of the matter and provide relevant documents from FBI holdings.”

-- Updated 5:53 p.m.