Search icon


15th Jul 2022

Man cleared of Malcolm X murder sues New York for wrongful conviction

Kieran Galpin

Muhammad A. Aziz

Aziz was at home during the assassination

A man cleared of the murder of civil rights leader Malcolm X has decided to sue the city and police officers involved for a total of $40m.

Muhammad A. Aziz and his legal team filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Brooklyn’s District court after he served two decades behind bars for the murder of Malcolm X. Aziz was actually in his home on February 21, 1965, nursing a leg injury when the assassination happened.

After decades of jumping through legal hoops, the 84-year-old was finally cleared of the crime last November, having been placed on parole in 1985. Another innocent man, Khalil Islam, was posthumously exonerated and paroled in 1987.

Now, in a 59-page complaint obtained by The Washington Post, Aziz’s attorneys, David Shanies and Deborah Francois, said his conviction was unjust and “wrongful.”

Muhammad A. Aziz

“As a result of his wrongful conviction and imprisonment, Mr. Aziz spent 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit and more than 55 years living with the hardship and indignity attendant to being unjustly branded as a convicted murderer of one of the most important civil rights leaders in history,” they wrote.

The lawsuit claims that the initial investigation was rushed to make a case against Aziz, who was 26 and a father of six at the time.

“The presumption of a probable cause created by the grand jury indictment is overcome by the fact that Mr. Aziz’s indictment was secured based on bad-faith police misconduct,” the complaint explained.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement: “As someone who has fought for a fairer criminal justice system for my entire career, I believe the overturning of Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam’s convictions was the just outcome. We are reviewing the lawsuit.”

Mujahid Abdul Halim, a member of the Nation of Islam Newark centre in New Jersey, admitted to the murder and said the other two men were innocent. Despite his admission, all three men were convicted, with Halim being released on parole in 2010.

Related links: