Raymond Wood, a former NYPD undercover officer, in a death-bed confession, admitted to being part of a conspiracy to target Malcolm X. He stated that he was part of a conspiracy by the NYPD to trap two of Malcolm X's security team into a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty, just a few days before Malcolm's assassination. In fact, he was assigned by the NYPD to surveil the Audubon Ballroom where Malcolm X was to make a speech and where he was assassinated. This is all detailed in an article by the Washington Post on the 22nd February this year.

Obviously, given the fame and influence of Malcolm X, there are plenty of conspiracy theories swirling around what actually occurred during his assassination, but without solid evidence, there is little one can say, apart from speculation. However, here we have solid, prima facie, evidence of such a conspiracy amongst the NYPD, and perhaps higher.

Q. Why would the FBI or the NYPD feel it necessary to entrap members of Malcolm X's security detail in a crime?

Q. Given the solid evidence of a conspiracy why isn't there a full scale enquiry into the assassination of Malcolm X?

  • 3
    Your question seems a bit broad, you might want to either split it up, or just ask one of the two questions. Though your first question seems trivial; disrupting the civil rights movement by any means necessary was the FBIs job; it regularly involved planting of evidence, harassment, violence, etc, with assassinations being the most drastic measures they took. The entrapment you mention doesn't seem out of the ordinary.
    – tim
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 8:26
  • 1
    I took a look at some articles about this. It appears that the allegations of FBI involvement in his assassination are based on fairly new information, so perhaps that is the answer to your question. There is no publicly announced inquiry because it has been less than a month since the officer's confession was published. Eighteen days is a short time to reopen an old case, and I am not sure that there would be a public announcement so soon even if they had.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 8:27
  • 2
    @MoziburUllah Because the first question is about the motives behind the FBIs actions in the 60s, while the second question is about the (lack of) action by todays institutions. While loosely related, imho answers to these two questions are very different, so combining both questions into one question causes problems for answerers (either they have to ignore one question and thus write only half an answer, or they have to go through the trouble of essentially writing two answers to two separate questions)
    – tim
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 8:34
  • 3
    @MoziburUllah People applauding an activist who wants to change the status quo is a very good reason why people who benefit from the status quo would want to have that activist gone. You seem to be looking at the US civil rights movement through a modern, progressive, 21st century lense, through which it looks pretty agreeable. But that was not the sentiment of that time. Otherwise the movement would not have been necessary.
    – Philipp
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 9:32
  • 2
    Uh, OK? Maybe? That seems largely irrelevant to your question, and I would point out that we are talking about a primarily American context. The hostility toward him in the US might be expected to be much greater than in Britain, and young students who had turned out specifically to see him are about as far from J. Edgar Hoover's FBI as can be.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 11:02

2 Answers 2


The authorities have released these statements in response to the new evidence presented by Malcom X's family lawyers:

Malcolm X's three daughters, along with Wood's family and high-profile Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump, are asking for the murder investigation to be re-opened in light of the new evidence. [...]

Three Nation of Islam members were convicted in Malcolm X's murder. Last year the Manhattan DA began a review of those convictions after meeting with representatives of the Innocence Project.

Now, with the new evidence, the DA's office says "the review of this matter is active and ongoing."

On Monday, the FBI released a statement on the investigation.

The FBI's New York field office is aware of recent reporting regarding the circumstances surrounding Malcom X's death. Over the past several months, we have worked cooperatively with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office to assist in its review of the matter and provide relevant documents from FBI holdings. Today's FBI stands for the noble pursuit of justice, and we will continue to support the review in any way we can.

The NYPD also responded on Saturday.

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.

So there is some kind of review of the case ongoing in the Manhattan DA office. The FBI and NYPD have declared their support of this effort.

  • Mozibur, you might notice that tim's point he was making in his comment is proven true, at least in this answer. It only details a response to one of your questions, that of what are current institutions doing now. Your two questions should properly be split up.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 15:44

At this point an answer is of historical interest, but it doesn't have a lot of immediate salience or demand a swift investigation.

Suppose that anyone actively involved in making decisions in the original plot (if there was one) was 25 years old or older at the time, i.e. born in 1940 or earlier. The youngest individual involved in now age 80 or older, and most of the senior people calling the shots in any operation like that are probably dead now.

It would be nice to get an accurate determination of what happened historically, but in and of itself, knowing something different than the current narrative doesn't change a whole lot. Malcolm X is still dead. Lots has happened to race relations and government corruption in the interim.

  • And I suspect that unlike for outright murder, conspiracy to deprive people of civil rights is subject to statute of limitations. Mkay, there's actually no such limitation if it results in death, but your point still stands. Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 16:41
  • Well, the allegation, as I understand it, would effectively be that the FBI conspired with at least one disaffected member of the Nation of Islam to kill him, by reducing his security and giving them a free shot. That would be murder, and likely not subject to the statute of limitations.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 20:10
  • While the existence of compelling evidence establishing an FBI assassination conspiracy would not personally un-murder anyone, such evidence would still be very useful in establishing accountability, both exoneratively, and to help correct undue public approval for the perpetrators and their methods.
    – agc
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 23:12
  • @Obie2.0 My point is that there is very likely no one left to hold accountable (in either a civil action or a criminal case) and no policies to change that haven't already been changed. It would set the historical record straight, and that isn't nothing, but that is all.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 1:40

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