Malcolm X in 1965. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Oliver Laughland 10 Dec 2018
Ex-undercover officer claims in posthumous letter he was pressured to lure activist’s security men into committing crimes
Almost 56 years since the day Malcolm X was assassinated in New York City, lawyers and family members of the late civil rights and Black nationalist leader released new evidence they claim shows the NYPD and FBI conspired in his murder.
It comes in the form of a deathbed letter attributed to a former undercover NYPD officer who claimed he was pressured by supervisors to lure two of Malcolm X’s security men into committing crimes, a few days before the assassination on 21 February 1965.
The arrests kept the two men from managing door security at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights on the day of the shooting, according to the letter.
The letter, written by Raymond Wood, was authorised for posthumous release by a cousin. It was read on Saturday at a press conference attended by three of X’s daughters and members of Wood’s family. No details about the circumstances and timing of Wood’s death were provided.
“Under the direction of my handlers,” the letter states, “I was told to encourage leaders and members of the civil rights groups to commit felonious acts.”
Last year, the assassination was the subject of a six-part Netflix documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X?, which revisited longstanding questions over whether two of three men convicted in the shooting were innocent. In 2011, an NYPD detective involved wrote: “The investigation was botched.”
The documentary prompted the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, to review convictions in the case. Following Saturday’s news conference, Vance’s office said the review was “active and ongoing”. In a separate statement, the NYPD said it had “provided all available records relevant to that case” to Vance and “remains committed to assist with that review in any way”.
The FBI did not comment.