Muhammad A. Aziz, one of the men exonerated for the murder of civil rights activist Malcolm X last year, is suing the city of New York and former law enforcement officials involved in the investigation decades ago for $40 million, according to the New York Times.
Aziz and the other man who was convicted in X’s murder, Khalil Islam, both maintained their innocence ever since the fatal shooting 57 years ago in 1965.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court on Thursday which could set up a long battle in court for Aziz and his lawyers to secure the bag for the 84-year-old who claims he was at home at the time of the assassination on Feb. 21, 1965.
Initially, the city comptroller and Aziz were in talks for a settlement, but negotiations broke down and as a result, Aziz and his attorneys are suing the city.
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The convictions were “the result of outrageous government misconduct and violations of their constitutional rights,” said David Shanies, a lawyer for Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam’s estate. “These men and their families should not be delayed compensation for the gross injustices they suffered.”
Mr. Aziz was a 26-year-old married father of six young children when he was convicted in 1966 of first-degree murder in the killing of Malcolm X, who was about to embark on a new phase of his career following a bitter break from the Nation of Islam, a Black nationalist group. Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were condemned despite a lack of physical evidence, conflicting statements from prosecution witnesses, and a third defendant taking the witness stand to confess to his role and to proclaim the two other men’s innocence.
Aziz’s attorneys; accused the NYPD and the Manhattan district attorney’s office of restricting evidence that supported his innocence. They were also accused of using practices that included coercing witnesses into giving false testimony. Two dozen former New York police officers have been named in the lawsuit, according to the New York Times.
Khalil Islam, the other man who was wrongfully convicted of X’s murder, was posthumously exonerated as he died in 2009.