In a shocking turn of events, the two men convicted of the 1965 killing of Malcolm X, Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam, will be exonerated today, Thursday, after spending a combined 42 years in prison. The action comes after a two-year investigation by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance and the Innocence Project.
The NY Times reported that after the “22-month investigation conducted jointly by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and lawyers for the two men found that prosecutors and two of the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department — had withheld key evidence that, had it been turned over, would likely have led to the men’s acquittal…“It’s long overdue,” said Bryan Stevenson a civil rights lawyer and the founder of the Equal Justice initiative. “This is one of the most prominent figures of the 20th century who commanded enormous attention and respect. And yet, our system failed.”
In an interview in February with Our Time Press, A. Peter Bailey, a founding member of Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro American Unity, spoke of his disbelief that Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam, did not assassinate Malcolm X “Zak Kondo wrote a book in1993 It was called Conspiracies: Unraveling the Assassination of Malcolm X. And that to me, is the definitive book on the assassination. And in that book, Zak names the five assassins. It was the first time I’d ever seen the five names and it showed clearly that the two people they put in jail were put in jail for 20 years for something they didn’t do.”
We spoke with Mr. Bailey after the announcement of the exoneration of the two men. “I am not surprised. I never accepted those two men did the shooting. If Talmadge Hayer had not be shot in the leg and held by the crowd, there would never have been anyone charged. That was the plan, but once he was caught, the police had to come up with somebody and a couple of day later, they did. Two innocent men.