NEW YORK (AP) – The city of New York is settling lawsuits filed on behalf of two men who were exonerated last year for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, agreeing to pay USD26 million for the wrongful convictions which led to both men spending decades behind bars.
The state of New York will pay an additional USD10 million. David Shanies, an attorney representing the men, confirmed the settlements on Sunday.
“Muhammad Aziz, Khalil Islam, and their families suffered because of these unjust convictions for more than 50 years,” Shanies said in an email. “The City recognised 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.”
Shanies said the settlements send a message that “police and prosecutorial misconduct cause tremendous damage, and we must remain vigilant to identify and correct injustices”.
Last year, a Manhattan judge dismissed the convictions of Aziz, now 84, and Islam, who died in 2009, after prosecutors said new evidence of witness intimidation and suppression of exculpatory evidence had undermined the case against the men.
Then-District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr apologised for law enforcement’s “serious, unacceptable violations of law and the public trust.”