top of page

Malcolm X Observes Black Muslim Trial in L.A., Photographs Policeman

May 3, 1963 - Malcolm X, controversial national spokesman for the Nation of Islam and minister of Temple No. 7 in Harlem, journeyed to Los Angeles Superior Court to attend today’s trial session of 14 Black Muslims. The defendants are charged with felony assault, resisting officers with force and, in one instance, assault with intent to commit murder. The charges stem from a battle with police on April 27, 1962, outside the Black Muslims’ Temple 27 in South-Central Los Angeles. During the riot, one Muslim, Ronald Stokes, was killed, and a number of policemen and other Black Muslims were injured. “Los Angeles is more on trial than these men,” said Malcolm X told a news conference today. “The defendants are not getting a fair trial. If they were, there would be no need for a trial. You don’t usually try a man who gets shot.” He charged that the prosecution “scientifically eliminated” Negroes from the jury of 11 women and 1 man. He accused the press of “giving the public the impression the police are telling an unchallenged story.” During a recess in the trial, Mr. X, who carried a camera suspended from his neck, snapped pictures of a group across the aisle. “Do you know who I’m taking a picture of?” he asked newsmen. “I’m taking pictures of a murderer.” He referred to patrolman Donald L. Weese, 28, who had testified he fired 6 shots during the riot resulting in the death of one Muslim and the permanent paralysis of another.


bottom of page