A member of Malcolm X’s security detail on Tuesday spoke for the first time since the civil rights leader’s assassination 58 years ago, and claimed he heard NYPD officers ask if the man convicted of the murder was ‘with us’.
Mustafa Hassan, 84, told a press conference at the cultural center in Manhattan’s Washington Heights district set up in Malcolm X’s name that he was there at the assassination – but has still not been interviewed by authorities.
Malcolm X was killed aged 39 on February 21, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section.
Thomas Hagan, who went at the time by Talmadge X Hayer, was arrested immediately and confessed to firing the gun that killed him. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in 1966, and released on parole in 2010.
Two others sentenced alongside him – Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, who died in 2018 – had their convictions overturned in November 2021: the pair were awarded a collective $36 million in damages in October 2022 by the City of New York.
On Tuesday, Hassan said he believed the assassination was orchestrated by the NYPD.
In February, the three daughters of Malcolm X announced they intend to sue the police over their father’s killing.
Hassan said he saw Hayer pull the trigger.
‘I would later see the same man outside as he was being beaten by Malcolm X’s followers, while a group of policemen who suddenly showed up on the scene, asking is he with us,’ said Hassan, reading from his affidavit.
He said that, while the officers sought to identify if Hayer was ‘with them’, they protected him.
Hassan saw the NYPD ‘holding back Malcolm’s followers from beating him.’
Hassan continued: ‘From my vantage point this was an attempt by the police to assist him in getting away.
‘Rather than allow the man to escape, I reached out and grabbed this man by the collar to prevent him from escaping.’
Hassan showed photos depicting the scene, adding that a police officer tried to stop him from grabbing Hayer.
Hassan said he believed the story told by undercover officer Eugene Roberts that there had been a ‘dry run’ for the assassination.
Roberts spoke to Dan Rather in 1992 for a CBS special, released at the same time as the Spike Lee film starring Denzel Washington in his Oscar-nominated role as Malcolm X.