WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (PIX11) — On the anniversary of his assassination, the family of Malcolm X joined with civil rights attorney Ben Crump in the room where the civil rights leader was killed, to announce a major legal action against the governments that the family claims played key roles in the crime and covered it up. 

The announcement was made at the Shabazz Center, the cultural and education center in the building where the civil rights leader was shot to death. 

It was just steps away from where Malcolm X’s daughters Qubilah and Ilyasah had witnessed their father’s assassination exactly 58 years earlier, along with other members of their family, including their mother, Dr. Betty Shabazz.

Crump said that the family had been traumatized not just by the killing, but also by how the federal, state and city governments had withheld information about their possible involvement in the crime. 

To seek redress, said Crump, “The family members intend to sue.”

Crump also referenced the case of Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, two men convicted of the killing, who were exonerated two years ago after serving more than two decades each in prison. Islam died trying to clear his name. 

Aziz, and the estate of Islam, received a $36 million settlement last year. The family of Malcolm X seeks a larger award, said Crump. 

“A wrongful death lawsuit against these governmental entities for $100 million,” he said is what they are pursing. 

Crump made the statement about damages after his initial announcement of a lawsuit having been filed. Then, he invited one of the fallen leader’s daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz, to comment. 

“It is our hope,” Shabazz said, “that litigation of this case will finally provide some unanswered questions. We want justice served for our father.”

Malcolm X died after sustaining 21 gunshot wounds during a speech at the Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965. Even though Mujahid Abdul Halim has admitted to and served time for the killing, many questions still surround it, including who else may have been involved. 

Halim has said that other members of his mosque in Newark, New Jersey, had taken part in the shooting. Some other accounts have indicated that people with ties to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies may have been involved in the planning of the crime. 

It’s why, according to Crump, his legal team intends to depose as many people as possible who were involved in the case.

“It’s not just about the triggerman,” he said, referring to Halim. “It’s also about those who conspired with the triggerman.”

Crump added that there had been formal legal proceedings into the killings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.

“But we never had that with Malcolm X’s family,” Crump said. 

“In both of those cases,” he continued, there ended up being legal settlements. “The federal government paid money,” said Crump, “which is in many ways an admission that you were involved somehow.”

The city’s Law Department informed PIX11 News that the notice of claim in the Malcolm X case had been filed with the city comptroller’s office. 

The city had no official comment, according to a spokesperson.