NYPD cops falsely arrested Malcolm X’s guards to pave way for assassination, men allege

NEW YORK — Two men who worked security for Malcolm X in the days before he was assassinated said Wednesday that NYPD cops used false arrests to lure them from his side — thus giving his killers a clear target.

In sworn affidavits, Khaleel Sayyed, 81, and Walter Bowe, 93, said they were busted on trumped-up charges and kept out of the picture just days before the civil rights leader was slain in a hail of bullets as he gave a speech to followers in Upper Manhattan.

On the 59th anniversary of his death, in the same room where Malcolm X was killed, the men said their arrests were part of a government conspiracy to silence one of the most important and controversial voices in American history.

Sayyed, standing beside one of Malcolm X’s daughters — who watched in horror as bullets felled her father — said he was added to the security detail after the family’s Queens home was firebombed on Feb. 14, 1965.

But a week later, on Feb. 21, when gunmen distracted the crowd at the Audubon Ballroom and killed the Muslim minister on stage, Sayyed and Bowe were nowhere to be found. They said cops arrested them days earlier and charged them in a terrorist plot to bomb the Statue of Liberty.

“It was widely known that his life was in frequent danger and under constant threat,” Sayyed said at a news conference, reading from his sworn testimony. “Had I not been arrested, I would have attended his speech and served as part of his security detail.”

Sayyed said he served 18 months in jail on the bogus charges.

Bowe, who did not attend the news conference, shared similar allegations. A lawyer read his sworn statement to reporters.

Their names have surfaced before in connection to the alleged conspiracy. In 2021, relatives of a deceased former police officer, Raymond Wood, shared what they said was a decade-old deathbed confession detailing a plot to falsely arrest Sayyed and Bowe to make sure Malcolm X wasn’t adequately protected during his final speech.

The new affidavits marked the first time Sayyed and Bowe have publicly addressed the matter.

After his split from the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X was gunned down on the stage of the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights as he prepared to make a speech to supporters of his new group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

He was shot 21 times as his wife and children looked on.

A state judge exonerated two of the three men convicted and jailed in connection with Malcolm X’s murder.

In 2022, the city paid $26 million and the state paid $10 million to Muhammad Aziz and the family of Khalil Islam to settle lawsuits related to their wrongful convictions.

Attorney Benjamin Crump has filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit, on behalf of Malcolm X’s daughters against the NYPD and other city, state and federal agencies for intentionally concealing evidence in his murder.

The Police Department has repeatedly declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing the pending litigation.