On the eve of his 56th death anniversary, the family of civil rights leader Malcolm X, has demanded that the probe into his assassination be reopened. The demand comes in light of the emergence of a confession letter by a former undercover police officer, that alleges the involvement of the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the African American icon’s killing.

Malcolm X’s three daughters, Qubiliah, Ilyasah and Gamilah Shabazz, joined civil rights attorney Ben Crump at a press conference where they released a letter written by former NYPD under-cover cop Raymond Wood. In the letter dated January 25, 2011, Wood confessed that he was tasked with infiltrating civil rights organizations as a part of conspiracy to discredit and arrest movement leaders. He also claimed that the NYPD and the FBI had conspired to assassinate Malcolm X, and that Thomas Johnson (who has since passed away) and two others (Thomas Hagan and Norman 3X Butler) were “arrested and wrongfully convicted” for the crime.

In his letter, Raymond Wood said, “Under the direction of my handlers, I was told to encourage leaders and members of the civil rights groups to commit felonious acts.” He said he was made to do this under duress, and that he was threatened of being implicated in a false drug case, when he tried to quit. The letter further revealed that Wood was tasked with ensuring two men, Bowe and Sayyed, who were a part of Malcolm X’s security team, were arrested just days before he was shot dead. However, Wood claimed that at that time he did not know Malcolm X was to be the target of an assassination attempt.

Wood had written the letter and entrusted it to his cousin Reggie, expressing the desire that its contents be revealed after his passing.

Reggie Wood joined the Shabazz family at the press conference held at The Shabazz Center, located at 3940 Broadway in New York City, where the Audubon Ballroom once stood… the site where Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965. “This letter helps me to understand the pain and guilt that Ray felt for the last 55 years,” he said.

Ilyasah Shabazz joined her sisters in demanding justice for her father and said, “Any evidence that provides greater insight into the truth behind that terrible tragedy should be thoroughly investigated.” Meanwhile, the NYPD released a statement saying, “Several months ago, the Manhattan District Attorney initiated a review of the investigation and prosecution that resulted in two convictions for the murder of Malcom X. The NYPD has provided all available records relevant to that case to the District Attorney. The Department remains committed to assist with that review in any way.” The FBI has not released a statement so far.

*Feature image: Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.