On February 21st, 1965, minister, activist, and civil rights leader Malcolm X was shot and killed while delivering a speech at New York City’s Audubon Ballroom. He was just 39 years old. Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, X rose to notoriety in the national civil rights movement. His combative, fiery rhetoric made him a deeply controversial figure, though his writings and speeches continue to inspire advocates for equity and social justice the world over. Now a landmark wrongful death lawsuit filed by his surviving family members seems poised to reignite the discourse around this civil rights titan. Malloy Law Offices is proud to commemorate Black History Month by honoring the memory of Malcolm X. In addition, we hope to explain the origins of this case and examine what exactly a successful wrongful death lawsuit must prove.
On the anniversary of his assassination, Malcolm X’s surviving family announced that they would be filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency as well as the city of New York, the state of New York and the New York Police Department. The family’s attorneys allege that the aforementioned law enforcement agencies and government bodies had a hand in the assassination and subsequent cover-up and are seeking $100 million in damages
In 2021, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance vacated the convictions of two of the three alleged assassins; Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, citing “newly discovered evidence and the failure to disclose exculpatory evidence” by both the NYPD and the FBI. Both men wrongfully spent decades in prison and Khalil Islam unfortunately passed away in 2009. Mr. Aziz and the estate of Kahlil Islam sued and won a $26 million dollar settlement from New York City and a further $10 million from the state of New York.
This new case is a continuation of this previous litigation. With the overturning of the convictions of Mr. Islam and Mr. Aziz, the longstanding doubts surrounding the official story of the death of Malcolm X have become even more ubiquitous. The family’s attorneys plan to “…subpoena and depose any individual that has relevant information.”
Wrongful death is a similar concept to personal injury law but in cases where the negligence or malice of a defendant caused death rather than just injury. Surviving family members or representatives of the victim’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek damages.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove: (1) that the defendant was negligent; (2) that their negligence caused the death of the victim; and (3) that the family of the deceased suffered damages as a result. The plaintiff must provide evidence to support each of these elements in order to be successful in their claim. They may need to produce medical records, autopsy reports, witness accounts, product documents or other relevant material. Additionally, they may need expert testimony from medical professionals or other experts who can explain complicated legal concepts to help make sense of what happened and why.
Given the size and complexity of this case; it would be deeply unprofessional to guess at any possible outcome, especially at this early stage. Suffice it to say we hope for nothing less than justice to be done and the truth to come to light. The legal team at Malloy Law Offices is well acquainted with wrongful death lawsuits. We pride ourselves on a client first approach to law and empathy for the injured and bereaved. If you’ve suffered the tragic, senseless loss of a loved one, don’t wait to seek justice. Contact Malloy Law today for a free consultation.