“Whenever a man commits a crime, God finds a witness. Every secret crime has its reporter." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most people don’t know this yet, and some never will, but April 22, 2010 was a watershed moment in American history.
That day, blogger Abdur Rahman Muhammad revealed that William Bradley, the long sought-after shotgun assassin of Malcolm X, could be seen in documentary footage filmed outside of the Audubon Ballroom moments after the black revolutionary died on February 21, 1965.
The video has since been removed.
Its removal was odd, given that it has been online practically since the birth of Youtube, and at other online sites before that. All of sudden it is linked to the assassination of a major American political figure and someone cries “copyright infringement.”
It was not; the less-than-two-minute video clip qualifies under the “fair use” exception to the U.S. Copyright Act.
In fact, you can still find the footage here, though it is of lesser quality.
I had reviewed this and other documentary footage any number of times over the past 30 years, but it never dawned on me that it was of such immense value in identifying the actual assassins of Malcolm X. Once Muhammad made the connection, I captured in excess of 300 frames to study them.
When I sent a copy to New York artist and Malcolm X researcher Omar Shabazz, he and I agreed that what it revealed was as important as the footage captured in Dallas by Abraham Zapruder on November 22, 1963.
We began calling it the “Black Zapruder” film.
The Zapruder film shows the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but doesn’t show the assassins. The Black Zapruder film doesn’t show the assassination of Malcolm X, but it shows the assassins.
The Zapruder film has been analyzed for more than half a century by scholars, forensics experts, and congressional panels. No one until now has ever published or discussed what’s shown in the footage from the Audubon on February 21, 1965.
The Zapruder film is in color; the Black Zapruder film is in black and white.
The result of our collaboration is a 47-minute documentary, released on February 21 in commemoration of the assassination, titled “The Black Zapruder Film: They Killed Malcolm X.”
This film will dispel once and for all the lie that Norman Butler was framed by law enforcement. Any forensic anthropologist will easily confirm that the footage shows Norman Butler and William Bradley at the scene of their heinous crime.
We may never know the names of the assassins who shot John F. Kennedy or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Robert F. Kennedy. But as of this day, we know for certain, beyond a reasonable doubt and indeed, beyond any doubt, who shot Malcolm X.
Black Zapruder Panels
More than 150 frames appear below in three color-coded sections. The first section, Blue, shows the fight between angry Malcolm X supporters – the ones who actually captured Thomas Hagan after the assassination – and police who arrived moments afterwards. More specifically, they show an incredibly brazen attempt by William Bradley, a Newark Nation of Islam member and the shotgun assassin, to free Hagan from the grips of both the police and Malcolm X supporters.
The second section, Red, comes from a badly damaged roll. It’s vital, however, because it helps explain why NYPD Sergeant Alvin Aronoff is yelling as he looks in the direction of the second video camera. The second camera filmed Bradley as he walked directly in front of it.
The third and final section, Brown, are frames from a roll of film in which Norman 3X Butler, a lieutenant from the Nation of Islam’s Mosque Number 7 in Harlem, is seen craning his neck to witness his “kill” as Malcolm X’s body is wheeled from the Audubon Ballroom to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital across the street. Butler has denied involvement for 49 years, 20 of them spent behind bars upon his 1966 conviction as a conspirator in the assassination.
This footage proves beyond any doubt that Butler has been lying for 49 years, and that Hagan has been lying as well.
1-2. A Malcolm X supporter (red circle) spots the wounded assassin Thomas Hagan on the ground surrounded by policemen at the entrance to the Audubon Ballroom moments after the assassination and tries to attack him.
3. Hagan’s head (green circle) is visible in a sea of policemen.
4-6. William Bradley, the man whose shotgun ended Malcolm X’s life, runs toward policemen holding Thomas Hagan. He has a newspaper in his left coat pocket (yellow circle). Incredibly, he intends to extricate him.
7. Police hold Hagan by his arms and waist while Malcolm X supporters grab him by his legs.
8 – 10. As police attempt to take Hagan to an ambulance for transport to Columbia Presbyterian hospital across the street, Bradley grabs an officer by his overcoat and attempts to push him away from Hagan.
11-12. Bradley finally makes contact with Hagan.
13 - 14. With Bradley’s assistance, Hagan manages to break through the barrier of policemen, but they quickly close the gap.
15. As Bradley continues to fight policemen in order to free his coconspirator, an OAAU member grabs a wooden folding chair (brown box) and heads toward Hagan.
16 - 18. Bradley (yellow shapes), who is 6-feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds, yanks a police office by the shoulder of his coat, pulling him downward. Two OAAU members, one armed with a folding chair, move in closer to Hagan.
19-21: Blue lines illustrate how Bradley’s forceful grip on the police officer opens a gap nearly wide enough for Hagan to potentially escape.
22-24. Sergeant Alvin Aronoff finally realizes that Bradley is attacking police officers and moves in to stop him.
25. Bradley grabs Hagan by his arm (green lines) as Aronoff moves toward him.
25-27. Chaos ensues as Bradley, police and Malcolm X supporters fight over control of Thomas Hagan. Aronoff grabs Bradley by his shoulders.
28 – 29. The film suffered damage at this point and frames were removed.
30: Bradley finally gets into the thick of the struggle. Angry Malcolm X supporters cling to Hagan’s legs while Bradley pulls him by his arms.
31-35. These frames offer the clearest view of Bradley’s profile. They provide the clearest evidence that he was at the Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965.
Bradley has remained silent about allegations around his involvement, but his wife has denied that he was an assassin. These images corroborate eyewitness descriptions of the shotgun assassin.
33 – 36. Sgt. Aronoff and other officers struggle to subdue Bradley. Malcolm X supporters keep a tight grip on Hagan’s legs. Hagan grabs a police officer by the back of his legs in an attempt to either make the officer fall or to prevent himself from falling.
37-40. Sgt. Aronoff falls backward as Bradley uses brute force against him.
41-42: Bradley stares into the camera, realizing for the first time that his actions are being recorded. The OAAU member with the folding chair moves in to strike Hagan should the opportunity present itself.
44 – 48. Bradley notices that a Malcolm X loyalist (in purple box) has given chase. The man is only inches away from Bradley when Bradley shoves Aronoff.
49-54. Bradley knocks Aronoff out of the way and makes his escape. He is carrying a piece of Hagan’s clothing (brown circle). A police officer restrains the only person attempting to subdue Bradley. Even though Bradley assaults several officers, including Aronoff, the officers make no attempt to subdue him.
55. The last full frame on Film Roll One showing Bradley.
56-60. The officer continues to restrain the Malcolm X supporter as Bradley walks away from the scene, realizing that he has no chance to free Hagan.
59 – 60. Hagan maintains his grip on the police officer’s legs.
61. Aronoff fires one shot into the air while staring in Bradley’s direction and standing directly over Hagan.
63 – 66. Aronoff yells at Bradley as Bradley hovers in the background.
66. Aronoff continues to yell at Bradley, who finally gives up and starts to walk away from the scene.
67. Startled by the warning shot, Malcolm X supporters release their grip on Hagan.
68 – 71. Aronoff appears incensed by the way Bradley assaulted him. A fellow officer grabs him by his left arm and tries to calm him.
72. Aronoff regains his composure as Bradley walks off.
73 - 77. Aronoff cools off and returns to assisting fellow officers surrounding Hagan, who is lying at curbside. Hagan complains of being unable to walk.
78. Aronoff puts away his gun away and turns his attention back to Hagan.
79-84. Hagan grabs his thigh as police try to get him to stand up.
Detectives and policemen hold back Malcolm X supporters, most of whom are keeping an eagle eye on Hagan.
85-90. Police lift up Hagan and take him to the ambulance. The crowd watches from the entrance to the ballroom.
THE SECOND ROLL
A. The footage from the second camera is even more damaged than the first. However, you can still see the newspaper in Bradley’s coat pocket (red circle) and you can see his beard (brown box). Numerous eyewitnesses described the shotgun assassin as a tall, bearded, dark-skinned man wearing a dark grey or black overcoat.
C – F. Hagan reaches out for Bradley to grab his left hand. Bradley muscles his way through the crowd to get to him.
G. By combining frames from Camera 1 and Camera 2, one gets a clearer understanding of Aronoff’s actions. Aronoff looks at Bradley, who pulls off Hagan’s jacket or other article of clothing during the struggle to free him. Bradley tucks the clothing under his overcoat.
J. Aronoff seems to be staring directly at the camera.
L. In fact, Aronoff is watching Bradley as he walks directly in front of the camera. The buttons on Bradley coat (brown box) and the newspaper in his pocket are highlighted for the viewer due to the poor quality of the frames. Bradley walks away.
THE THIRD ROLL - NORMAN BUTLER
1- 2. Norman Butler suddenly appears (his fingers are circled) as Malcolm X’s body (red circle) is wheeled across the street to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. You can observe a dark jacket or shirt underneath his coat (brown box). Eyewitnesses described the second shooter as a dark-skinned man wearing a dark brown jacket underneath a tweed coat.
3. Note the dark clothing underneath the tweed coat.
4 – 6. Butler stands out like a zebra due to his tweed coat and black fedora, which he wears at a 45-degree angle.
7 – 9. OAAU member Richard Young (yellow circle) guides a stretcher carrying Malcolm X’s body to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, across the street from the Audubon Ballroom. Butler moves in to get a closer look.
10 – l2. Butler (brown box), who is obscured by a photographer standing over him, leans in for one final view of his victim.
13-15. Notice that Butler wears the same type of coat as the man in the footage. Also note that Butler wears his hat at the same 45-degree angle as the man in the footage.
16-17. Norman Butler at the police station. Numerous eyewitnesses, including Sharon Poole Shabazz, positively identify Butler as the second assassin with a handgun. Shabazz and Butler were both once members of Muhammad’s Temple of Islam in Harlem (also known as Temple Number Seven), which gives her even more credibility.
Norman Butler is booked on February 26, 1965 for the murder of Malcolm X. He is found guilty 13 months later.
CONCLUSION: Thomas Hagan and William Bradley crossed from New Jersey to New York and killed Malcolm X on February 21, making the assassination a federal crime. There is no statute of limitations for homicide on either the state or federal level, making Bradley eligible for indictment.
The Department of Justice, headed by Eric Holder, an African American, claims that there is no federal law under which any of the assassins can be tried. Clearly, that is a lie. If a black attorney general serving under a black president has no interest in pursuing justice, there is really no advantage to having them in office.