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NY agrees to pay $36 million to two men wrongly incarcerated for Malcolm X killing

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Two men who were wrongfully incarcerated for over 50 years for the murder of activist Malcolm X in 1965 will be paid millions of dollars in settlements by New York City and the State of New York.

In a settlement reached this week, New York City agreed to pay out a total of $26 million to Muhammad Aziz and the family of the now deceased Khalil Islam, who were cleared of their convictions last year when an investigation revealed the third man, who was charged along with Aziz and Islam, was the only person involved in the shooting of the human rights leader in 1965. The state agreed to pay out an additional $10 million in damages.

“Muhammad Aziz, Khalil Islam, and their families suffered because of these unjust convictions for more than 50 years,” said David Shanies, an attorney for the men said. “The City recognized the grave injustices done here, and I commend the sincerity and speed with which the Comptroller’s Office and the Corporation Counsel moved to resolve the lawsuits.” 

The third man convicted in the killing, Thomas Hagan, had previously stated Aziz and Islam were not involved in the shooting, but did implicate himself and two other unnamed suspects.

Hagan maintained Aziz and Islam’s innocence through the years. Alibis for both men were investigated, and it was discovered that the FBI had information on other suspects that was not revealed at the time of the convictions of Aziz and Islam.

Upon settling, Shanies said, “police and prosecutorial misconduct cause tremendous damage, and we must remain vigilant to identify and correct injustices.”

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