By Karl Evanzz
Some have asked why I wasn’t in the series.
I was asked by Shayla Harris, one of the African American’s behind the camera, to be interviewed for it, but I declined. Why? Because when I asked her whether certain people would be interviewed and the answer was what I expected, so I told her that I could not be part of it.
The people I referred to are responsible for some of the most despicable lies ever cast on Malcolm X’s legacy.
Despite data I sent to Arkmedia via Ms. Harris, they chose to go with the erroneous proposition that all of the assassins were from New Jersey and that Butler was framed. They conveniently show the footage of William Bradley fighting to free Hagan, but they omit the footage of Norman Butler at the same scene.
One of Marable’s sources was none other than Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, the person at this center of the Netflix series. Muhammad claims that his obsession with Malcolm X’s murder “changed the trajectory of my life.” The truth is that his life had no trajectory as far as anyone knows. He’s kind of fumbled his way through life until now.
He has not written any books or lengthy articles about the assassination. He has only written one blog of note, and that was because a friend of his from Howard University led him to Bradley’s whereabouts. Everything else in the series is based on my books and the book by Zak Kondo.
In Marable’s biography of Malcolm X, Muhammad is cited as the source for Marable’s bogus assertion that Malcolm X had an intimate relationship with Sharon 6X Poole (aka Shabazz). When I asked Muhammad about this claim, he replied that Malcolm X fathered Sharon’s child.
This was, of course, a blatant lie, one that I brought to Marable’s attention long before publication but which he printed anyway. In fact, Benjamin Goodman (aka Karim) fathered a child by Sharon Poole fourteen months after Malcolm X was assassinated. Once the lie was exposed, Marable's researcher named Karim as its source, yet there is no attribution to Karim in Marable’s book.
Note that I brought the truth of the matter to Marable and his “researcher” almost a full year before his book was published. Marable wasn’t interested in the truth. He needed salacious rubbish to sell his book.
Those are just two examples of the slop which won Marable the Pulitzer Prize. That’s the way America works.
I was contacted by Harris of ArkMedia on January 9, 2018, regarding the company’s planned series on Malcolm X. I told her that I could not be part of it, but two days later I sent her the following panels from “The Black Zapruder Film: They Killed Malcolm X.”
Still shots of William Bradley trying to help Thomas Hagan escape after the assassination of Malcolm X at the Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965.
Still shots of Norman Butler attempting to view the body of Malcolm X moments after Butler, Hagan, and Bradley killed him.
I wanted to make sure that ArkMedia didn’t fall for the bull patties about Butler being innocent of the assassination. Despite this cautionary advice, ArkMedia chose to ignore the only positive proof that Butler was not at home with an injured leg at the time of the assassination. No, he was right there on the front row killing Malcolm X.
The biggest problem with most scholars is that they have fallen for the lies in a 1977 affidavit written by Thomas Hagan (aka Talmadge Hayer), and another affidavit signed by Benjamin Goodman (Karim).
Hagan told numerous lies during the trial, so much so that he demolished his own credibility. Butler also was his own worst enemy on the stand. Prosecutor Vincent Dermody made both of them look like imbeciles. They convicted themselves by their misstatements and half-truths.
I can understand Hagan lying for his misguided brothers in the Nation of Islam, but Benjamin Karim totally dishonored Malcolm X by giving defense lawyers a ludicrous affidavit. Karim notes in the affidavit that Thomas Johnson and Norman Butler could not have been in the Audubon at the time of the assassination, but then admits that he was not an eyewitness to the murder.
In his autobiography, Remembering Malcolm, Karim writes:
“I don’t know how Betty Shabazz or anybody else was able to positively identify the suspects Butler and Johnson and thus place them at the scene. Especially Butler. That Sunday morning, the very day of the [assassination], Butler had been in the hospital to have work done on his knee.”
How does Karim know this? He doesn’t say. In fact. Butler’s own physician testified during the 1966 trial that he didn’t see Butler and treat him until February 25, 1965 – four days after the assassination
Another puzzle about Karim’s statement is that he says he doesn’t know how Betty Shabazz “or anybody else” could identify Butler. He never mentions his mistress, Sharon 6X Poole, by name in the book. That’s how dishonest he was. James 67X Warden wanted Malcolm to expel Karim because Sharon was only a teenager and Karim was a married man.
Remember that at the time of his assassination, Malcolm X was scheduled to testify in court against Elijah Muhammad, whom Malcolm called immoral because he was sleeping with his teenage secretaries. Karim was embarrassing Malcolm by doing the same thing.
Nor does Karim make any mention of Sharon identifying Butler moments after the assassination.
In fact, if you go to the 21-minute mark in “The Black Zapruder Film,” you will hear Sharon being interviewed off-camera by an African American reporter. Sharon said she recognized one of the shooters as a Black Muslim from the Harlem mosque.
“They were Black Muslims?” the reporter asks. Then he hollers: “Hey, uh Benjamin!”
That’s right, he was going to ask Benjamin Karim about Sharon’s statement. But just like he did after introducing Malcolm X that fateful day, Karim ducked for cover.
These are the kind of yellow-bellied sapsuckers who have been pecking away at Malcolm X’s good name ever since he was killed. Shame on them all.
The reason Betty Shabazz and others could positively identify Butler as an assassin is because unlike most of the men who were supposed to be protecting Malcolm X but ended up hiding behind stage or under chairs, Betty Shabazz, Sharon 6X Poole, Yuri Kochiyama, and other women were willing to die for Malcolm X that day. They got a good look at the shooters while Karim and the other “soldiers” were somewhere hiding, quivering in their boots and soiling their pants.
On February 7, I wrote the attached letter to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and his associate, Peter T. Casolaro. I have asked them to review the photos showing a man who I maintain is Norman Butler attempting to view Malcolm’s body.
Some scholars, incredulously, claim that the man is a doppelganger. Doppelganger my ass; that’s Norman Butler.
African American researchers and scholars identified William Bradley as far back as 1993. Not one major newspaper reviewed Kondo’s book and only one reviewed my book, The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X. Had they done so, Bradley might have been convicted for his role in the assassination.
The text of my letter to the Manhattan District Attorney regarding Butler:
February 7, 2020
Dear Mr. Vance and Mr. Casolaro:
I am writing as regards the current misguided attempt to “clear the name” of Norman 3X Butler, aka Muhammad Abdul Aziz, one of three Black Muslims who shot Malcolm X to death inside the Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965.
While it is true, as retired detective Anthony V. Bouza noted recently in the New York Times, that the investigation was botched in many ways, it most certainly was not botched in terms of Norman Butler. As the old movie tag goes: “[the] Butler did it.”
While researching the assassination of Malcolm X in the late 1970s, I thought after reading affidavits from Thomas Hagan (aka Talmadge Hayer) and Benjamin Goodman (aka Benjamin Karim), that Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson were wrongfully convicted.
I spent five years discoursing with Johnson some time ago. He asked me to pen his autobiography but I was skeptical of his motives. By the time our discussions ended, I had read the trial transcript and enough documents related to the assassination to know that the person who fired the shotgun at Malcolm X could not have been Thomas 15X Johnson.
Eyewitness statements uniformly described that person as a tall (about 6’ 2”) dark brown-skinned African American male who wore a short beard. Johnson was a much shorter, very light-skinned African American male who never wore a beard.
“I couldn’t grow one if I tried,” he said. He sported a thin mustache most of his adult life.
In addition, there was film footage available on Youtube which captured images of the three assassins shortly after the assassination. The footage, filmed by two local TV stations, was later donated to a film school in Los Angeles.
Briefly, it shows a tall, dark brown-skinned black man fighting with police and Malcolm X supporters to free Hagan from their clutches. This individual was positively identified in 2010 by several people as William Bradley, a former lieutenant at one of the Nation of Islam’s temples in the Newark area.
As such, eyewitness statements were accurate. A proper investigation should have eliminated Johnson as a suspect in the assassination of Malcolm X.
But we needn’t waste time thinking that Johnson was a victim of injustice. His justice was poetic, for seven weeks earlier, Johnson and Butler went to a local temple operated by a former member of the Nation of Islam and ordered him to remove a photo of their leader, Elijah Muhammad, from the window of his storefront location or suffer grave consequences.
When Benjamin Brown refused to remove the photo, Johnson asked him to step outside to discuss the matter. Once Brown did so, Johnson removed a .22 caliber rifle from underneath his coat and shot Brown. The first shot struck him in his left shoulder, and then the rifle jammed.
“I was trying to shoot him in the chest,” Johnson told me.
Johnson, Butler, and other Muslims were quickly arrested. But for a stroke of good luck for Brown, they would have faced murder charges.
As you can see by the enclosed new story, Butler was wearing a tweed coat, a dark suit, and a black hat when he and Johnson were arrested for shooting Brown.
Johnson told me that the coat was the only decent one that Butler owned at the time and he, therefore, wore it daily during winter.
Every killer makes a mistake; it’s up to investigators to find it. In the case of Malcolm X, it was Butler’s tweed coat that gave him away. That, along with the black hat he always wore at a forty-five-degree angle. You can count on one hand men who wear a fedora at a forty-five-degree angle.
In the linked video titled “The Black Zapruder Film: They Killed Malcolm X,” skip to the sixteen-minute mark and you will see a black man wearing a tweed coat and black hat at a forty-five-degree angle wrestling his way through the crowd as Malcolm X is removed by stretcher from the Audubon Ballroom and taken to the hospital across the street.
The man is none other than Norman 3X Butler. He lied in 1965 about not being involved in the assassination, and he has been lying about it ever since. Look at the tweed coat. How many tweed coats do you see in the crowd?
Butler wouldn’t recognize the truth if she sat on his lap. Neither would Hagan. Their trial testimony was one lie or misstatement after another, making it easy for Vincent Dermody to win convictions.
When I spoke to an attorney currently representing Butler, he said that he had never seen this footage. This made me wonder whether Ark Media included the footage in its overly long series on Malcolm X. How could they spend a year developing the project and not show this footage if they really were searching for the whole truth?
As for the Innocence Project, it appears to have become drunk with power. One of the attorneys claiming that Butler is innocent and should have been freed after Hagan’s 1977 affidavit comes from the same pack of lawyers who would have us believe that O.J. Simpson didn’t nearly decapitate his wife Nicole and butcher Ronald Goldman, a young restaurant worker, in a fit of rage.
Why would Butler deserve freedom because his conspirator swears that four others helped him kill Malcolm X and that Butler was not there? Hagan and Butler were members of the Nation of Islam, a sect that refers to the Holy Bible as the “poison book.” It meant nothing for them to place their hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth because they regard the Bible as unworthy of honor.
The other red herring is the affidavit of Benjamin Karim, a top aide to Malcolm X who introduced him on the afternoon of February 21, 1965. Karim swore that Johnson and Butler could not have been inside the Audubon because he would have recognized them and they would have been expelled.
In the same document, Karim admits that he was not actually present in the ballroom, which nullifies his affidavit. Karim was too busy hiding in the Green Room behind stage to see who was in the audience.
He makes no mention of the three men on the front row center who, according to former New York Police Department detective Eugene “Gene” Roberts (interviewed in the documentary “Brother Minister”), were pretending to be reading newspapers, making it impossible to see their faces.
Those were the same three men, Roberts said, who shot Malcolm X to death a few minutes later. Since Karim was cowering backstage when the shooting started, his affidavit isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Numerous eyewitnesses identified Norman Butler as the person they saw firing a gun at Malcolm X. A reporter said that Butler started “firing like a cowboy” in his bid to escape. Many eyewitnesses said that Butler appeared to injure himself when he jumped over several people and landed on the steps leading out of the building. This would explain why Butler went to the doctor four days after the assassination to have his injured leg examined.
Butler infuriated Johnson by using the same alibi. But Johnson had proof from his physician that he was ordered to stay home and keep his leg elevated on February 21. During the trial, Butler’s physician demolished Butler’s alibi by testifying that he did not see Butler until February 25, the day before he was arrested for murder.
I won’t belabor my point, which is that Norman Butler deserves no consideration whatsoever for his legitimate conviction in the murder of Malcolm X. He and Johnson were facing trial for shooting Benjamin Brown at the time of the assassination of Malcolm X. Call it fate, karma, poetic justice, or whatever you want. The bottom line is that they were going to jail either way.
Butler fought the law, and the law won. End of story.
P.S. I have enclosed still images from the documentary, “The Black Zapruder Film.” Any moderately competent specialist in forensic photography will confirm that the man in the images is none other than Norman Butler. You can tell by the tweed coat, the type and shape of the black fedora, and the right profile of the man in the photos as compared to the right profile of Norman Butler today.
This corroborates statements by Yuri Kochiyama, Sharon 6X Poole, and numerous other eyewitnesses who positively identified Norman Butler as one of three men they saw kill Malcolm X.