Muhammad Aziz, who was wrongfully convicted for the 1965 murder of civil rights leader Malcolm X, sued New York City and former law enforcement officials involved in the investigation on July 14.
Attorneys for Aziz, 84, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the United States District Court in Brooklyn seeking $40 million from the city for its role in the verdict that was vacated in November last year when then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. apologized in court for illegal conduct by the police and prosecutors involved in the case.
A co-defendant, Khalil Islam, died in 2009. He was posthumously exonerated.
The convictions were “the result of outrageous government misconduct and violations of their constitutional rights,” Aziz’s attorneys David Shanies and Deborah Francois wrote in the 59-page complaint.
“As a result of his wrongful conviction and imprisonment, Mr. Aziz spent 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit and more than 55 years living with the hardship and indignity attendant to being unjustly branded as a convicted murderer of one of the most important civil rights leaders in history,” Shanies and Francois further wrote, as quoted by The Washington Post.
Aziz, a U.S. Navy veteran and a father of six children, was 26 years old when he was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Malcolm X.
Aziz was at his home in Bronx nursing a leg injury when the assassination took place on Feb. 21, 1965.
In a statement, Mayor Eric Adams said the city was reviewing the lawsuit.
“As someone who has fought for a fairer criminal justice system for my entire career, I believe the overturning of Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam’s convictions was the just outcome,” Adams said.
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