The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is considering whether to reopen Malcolm X’s 55-year-old murder case to determine whether prosecutors convicted the wrong men in his assassination, The New York Times reported Thursday. Scholars have long insisted that unreleased government documents reveal a hidden conspiracy regarding the civil-rights icon’s assassination in February 1965. New evidence from a six-part documentary—streaming on Netflix Feb. 7—titled Who Killed Malcolm X? shows that two of the men convicted in his murder could not have been at the scene that day. The documentary instead points at four members of a Nation of Islam mosque in Newark, New Jersey. “What got us hooked,” said co-director of the documentary, Rachel Dretzin, “was the notion that the likely shotgun assassin of Malcolm X was living in plain sight in Newark, and that many people knew of his involvement, and he was uninvestigated, unprosecuted, unquestioned.” Anthony V. Bouza, a detective on the case, claimed a few years ago that the investigation was “botched.”
“The vast majority of white opinion at that time was that this was black-on-black crime, and maybe black-extremist-on-black-extremist crime,” said David Garrow, a civil-rights historian. By the time Malcolm was assassinated, he was denounced a traitor in the United States, spied on by the FBI and police, and declared “worthy of death” by Louis Farrakhan, who is now the leader of the Nation of Islam.