The 1965 assassination of Malcom X is facing fresh scrutiny with the unveiling of shocking new accusations. Attorney Benjamin Crump— along with Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz and Reginald Wood Jr., the cousin of deceased New York police officer Raymond A. Wood— is accusing the FBI and the NYPD of working together to have Malcom X killed.
During the group’s New York City press briefing, held on Saturday, February 20, Wood said that his cousin, a Black, undercover member of the NYPD from April 1964 through May 1971, wrote a letter on January 25, 2011, detailing never before told events that led to Malcolm X’s assassination. X was assassinated on February 21, 1965 in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom while giving a speech. Although three men were convicted of his death, Wood alleges those men actually had nothing to do with what happened.
Wood’s confession letter accuses his NYPD superiors of telling him to make sure Malcolm X did not have any security manning the doors on the day of the Audubon Ballroom event. In order to comply with that order, Wood says he arrested Malcolm X’s security team days before the civil rights leader was killed in Manhattan.
“My actions were done under duress and fear,” Wood wrote in his letter. “I could face detrimental consequences…after witnessing repeatedly brutality in the hands of my coworkers. I tried to resign. Instead, I was threatened with arrest by pinning marijuana and alcohol trafficking charges on me if I did not follow through with the assignments. Under the direction of my handlers, I was told to encourage leaders and members of the civil rights groups to commit felonious acts. The statue of liberty bombing idea was created by my supervisor/handler. Using surveillance, the agency learned [two men] were key players in Malcolm X’s crowd control security detail. It was my assignment to draw the two men into a felonious federal crime so that they could be arrested by the FBI and kept away from managing Malcolm X’s Audubon Ballroom door security on February 21, 1965.”
Fearing retaliation from the government or the NYPD, Wood asked his cousin to reveal this information to the public once he passed away. Wood died in November 2020 after a battle with cancer.
“No one can argue that Malcolm X is the personification of Black Lives Matter,” Crump said. “We are here to talk about restorative justice because the past is prologue. The fact that Ray Wood, this New York undercover police officer who wrote this death bed, dying declaration of his involvement at the behest of the NYPD and the FBI conspired to discredit civil leaders, black nationalist leaders and even worse to kill them, when you consider the assassination of Malcom X, Fred Hampton and Martin Luther King Jr.“
Malcom X’s daughters are now demanding authorities reopen their father’s murder investigation now that this new information has come to light. According to Crump, “The only way we get to justice is with the truth.”