Malcolm X's daughter Ilyasah Shabazz announced Tuesday that her family and civil rights attorney Ben Crump plan to file a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against several government agencies, including the CIA, FBI, and NYPD.
This week marks the 58th anniversary of the prominent civil rights leader's assassination, which has raised questions for decades about government involvement. Shabazz announced her plans to hold US agencies accountable in a press conference Tuesday.
"When I think of the challenges that my mother suffered, witnessing the assassination of her husband, I think now is the best time that we have to seek justice for a man who gave his life for human rights," Shabazz told Morning Edition's Leila Fadel. "We'd like our father to receive the justice that he deserves."
Malcolm X was shot 21 times by multiple men at a rally in 1965. Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam were initially blamed for the killing, but were since exonerated in 2021.
Crump accused the government of withholding evidence from Malcom X's family, and stated that the institutions should face consequences for their role in his death, regardless of who pulled the trigger.
"The government had factual and exculpatory information that they kept from the gentlemen who were wrongly convicted, and more importantly from his family," he said, adding, "The city [New York City] and the state paid tens of millions of dollars to the two gentlemen who were wrongfully convicted. What is due to those who suffered the most?"
Shabazz witnessed her father's murder at two-years-old, and said she is pursuing the lawsuit as a way to preserve his legacy. Now 60, she wishes to paint an "accurate history" of Malcolm X's contributions.
Crump compared Malcolm X's deaths to those of other civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King Jr. and Fred Hampton, who were surveilled by the FBI and subsequently killed. Both King and Hampton's family have since received financial compensation following successful lawsuits.
"[The government] was afraid of the rise of a Black messiah," Crump said.
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