Ray Wood was an undercover New York Police Department officer in the 1960s who confessed while dying from cancer that he unwittingly helped the NYPD and FBI conspire to assassinate Malcolm X, according to Wood’s family and their attorney.
They say Wood, who was also Black, wrote a letter making the confession. In a dramatic news conference on February 20, 2021, Reggie Wood, Ray Wood’s cousin, read the confession letter and presented it to Malcolm X’s daughters.
Attorney Ben Crump, who helped lead the news conference, wrote on February 21, 2021, “On this day 56 years ago, Malcolm X was assassinated for speaking truth to power. They may have taken his life, but they can’t silence his impactful voice as a prominent activist for the civil rights movement!”
During the press conference, Crump referred to Wood’s letter as an “astonishing revelation from the past.” He called it “riveting” and 56 years past due.
His age is unclear.
Malcolm X Murder
Malcolm X, age 39, was assassinated inside the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, on February 21, 1965, during a speech.
Three men, Talmadge Hayer (also called Thomas Hagan), Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson were all convicted of murder in the case, but only Hayer admitted involvement and said the other two men were innocent.
An earlier Netflix raised serious questions about the investigation and murder. Malcolm’s death was only the beginning of the tragedy to hit his wife and family. Hayer said other people were involved, and that he would name them. He was released from prison in 2010.
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The Manhattan DA has previously announced his office is examining those convictions. “Several months ago, the Manhattan District Attorney initiated a review of the investigation and prosecution that resulted in two convictions for the murder of Malcolm X.
The NYPD has provided all available records relevant to that case to the District Attorney. The Department remains committed to assisting with that review in any way,” the New York Police Department said in a statement to ABC 7 when asked about the Wood revelations.
Ray Wood’s Confession Letter
The letter starts, “I, Raymond A. wood, being of sound mind and body, wish to confess the following. I was a Black New York City undercover police officer from April 1964 through May 1971.”
The letter says that Wood felt he “participated in actions that in hindsight were deplorable to the advancement of my own Black people.”
He wrote that his actions were taken “under duress and fear that if I did not follow the orders of my handlers, I could face detrimental consequences. Presently I am aging with failing health.”
He wrote that he had recently learned of the death of Thomas Johnson and was concerned that with his death, Johnson’s family wouldn’t be able to exonerate him “after being wrongfully convicted in the killing of Malcolm X.”
Wood wrote that he tried to quit the New York force after witnessing repeated brutality but was threatened with alcohol and drug trafficking charges if he “didn’t follow through with the assignment.”
He wrote that he was “told to encourage leaders and members of the civil rights groups to commit felonious acts,” including the Statue of Liberty bombing, a plot “created by my superior.”