The two men who spent decades in prison for the murder of lionized Civil Rights leader Malcolm X will have their convictions thrown out after a review of the case revealed prosecutorial and investigative misconduct.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance will join the attorneys for Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam in vacating the convictions on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in what Vance called the “severity of the error,” according to the New York Times. Once again its brought to the light how Black families and community are abused by the law enforcement system and it takes over 50 years before the obvious wrong is even admitted.
Vance apologized and acknowledged that prosecutors along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department withheld key evidence that would have likely exonerated Aziz and Islam. Both men were convicted in killing Malcolm X, who by then had changed his name to El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, at the Audobon Ballroom in Upper Manhattan on Feb. 21, 1965.
Vance tasked his office with reviewing the case over 22 months following the debut of the gripping Netflix documentary that cast serious doubt on Islam’s and Aziz’s guilt. Moreover, the documentary made observers and experts question why the FBI and NYPD did not prevent the murder from taking place when they had gathered reliable intelligence that Malcolm’s life was in grave danger.
Islam was paroled in 1987 and died in 2009. Aziz, paroled in 1985, is still alive.
Vance spoke to the affected families through the New York Times article in which he admitted that law enforcement and prosecutors hastily persecuted Aziz and Islam back in the 1960s on flimsy evidence. The egregious injustice cannot be rectified, Vance said, “but what we can do is acknowledge the error, the severity of the error.”