Lawyers for Malcolm X’s family reveal ‘explosive’ witness and video bolstering assassination conspiracy claims

Malcolm X was a pivotal figure in the struggle for Black civil rights and the nascent Black Power movement

Io Dodds
Tuesday 25 July 2023 22:14 BST
Lawyers for Malcolm X’s family reveal ‘explosive’ witness bolstering assassination conspiracy claims

Lawyers for the family of Malcolm X have unveiled new witness testimony that they say corroborates their claim that US authorities were involved in his assassination.

Mustafa Hassan, 84, a former associate of the Black civil rights leader, said in a sworn affidavit that he was present at his leader's murder in 1965 and believes police officers tried to help the gunman escape the scene.

Mr Hassan alleged that one officer asked another whether the gunman was "with us" – that is, whether he was a police informant. Mr Hassan further alleged that he was never interviewed by authorities.

Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights lawyer who plans to sue the New York Police Department (NYPD) and other government agencies on behalf of Malcolm X's family, argued that this was evidence the officers knew one of their moles might make a move against Malcolm X's life.

"When the police first run up to the person who has just shot Malcolm X, are they trying to stop him? No," said Mr Crump at a press conference on Tuesday.

"What they're saying is, 'Is he with us?' Because they don't know if their person was assigned to shoot Malcolm or not."

Malcolm X was a pivotal figure in the struggle for Black civil rights and the nascent Black Power movement, whose assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City sent shockwaves across the world.

Three members of the Nation of Islam, which was bitterly feuding with him at the time, were jailed for his murder. But in 2021, the New York Supreme Court posthumously overturned two of those men's convictions after investigators found that the prosecution had withheld evidence.

Mr Crump is now representing Malcolm X's family in a planned lawsuit against the NYPD, the FBI, the CIA and more, which he accuses of playing a role in the murder.

"What we're saying is, this conspiracy goes up to the top," Mr Crump said, describing Mr Hassan's evidence as "explosive and astonishing".

Citing statements by former NYPD informants, he argued that there were many government agents in the crowd that day who were kept compartmentalised from each other – meaning individual NYPD officers would not have known all of their identities.

As proof that Mr Hassan was indeed present, Mr Crump showed photos and video from the scene that he said featured a younger Mr Hassan.

Mustafa Hassan points to himself in a photo from the day Malcolm X was assassinated (Ariana Baio / The Independent)

One photo appeared to show Mr Hassan grappling with an NYPD officer as police tried to shield Thomas Hagan – the man convicted of Malcolm X’s murder, and the only one who actually confessed – from an angry crowd.

Mr Hassan said there was "no doubt in [his] mind" that Mr Hagan was working on behalf of the NYPD or another US government agency.

The Independent has asked the NYPD for comment. The FBI and CIA have previously declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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