Rochester man who met Malcolm X shortly before his death on cleared convictions

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — It’s been 56 years since former Nation of Islam’s Chief Spokesperson Malcolm X was shot and killed at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. This week two of the three men convicted in the assassination are set to have their convictions cleared.

News10NBC talked to Dr. Walter Cooper who first met the Civil Rights leader back in 1962.

With memories still vivid at the age of 93, Dr. Cooper told us that every time Malcolm X visited Rochester he would go and watch him speak. In fact, Cooper last met with Malcolm just two weeks before he was assassinated.

This Thursday convictions against 83-year-old Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam will be cleared after a re-investigation found that authorities withheld evidence favorable to their defense.

Besides their attorneys, the men who have claimed their innocence all along are also being represented by the Innocence Project and Civil Rights Attorney David Shanies. Malcolm X was shot and killed back in February 1965. Aziz, Islam, and a third man identified as Mujahid Abdul Halim were convicted in March of the following year.

Dr. Cooper tells us the news of these convictions being cleared is no surprise to him.

"Given the climate that we’re in, we’re in Black lives really do not matter. That’s been proven by what transpired over the last year, and very little value historically has been placed on the lives of Blacks, and so that is nothing new," said Cooper.

He went to compare this very case to the ongoing case of the three men involved in the Ahmaud Arbery trial.