The daughter of a now-deceased NYPD officer is calling the confession letter in which the ex-cop admitted the NYPD and the FBI were behind Malcolm X’s death “fake.”
“I know that my father did not write this letter,” Kelly Wood told NY1. “I know that is not his signature and I know the envelope they’re using to somehow justify that the letter was mailed is also a fake.”
The letter was made public by the family of Malcolm X on Feb. 20, 56 years after the liberation icon was murdered in 1965 while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York’s Manhattan borough. Three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted in his murder.
In the letter attributed to former undercover NYPD officer Raymond Wood, he confessed that he had aided the department and the FBI in their joint effort to assassinate Malcolm X by ensuring members of his security detail would not be present during the address to manage door security on the day of the assassination.
“Under the direction of my handlers, I was told to encourage leaders and members of the civil rights groups to commit felonious acts,” Wood’s letter stated. The letter purportedly was written in 2011, not to be made public until Wood’s death. He died in November 2020 at the age of 87.
But Kelly Wood claims the letter is fake and that it was forged by the man who delivered it to Malcolm X’s family — Raymond Wood’s cousin Reginald Wood.
“My father is not a coward. He would have never, ever asked anyone to speak on his behalf after his passing. If he had something to say, he would have said it when he was alive,” she said.”
Reginald Wood, who is also the administrator of the deceased former officer’s estate, said Raymond Wood and his daughter had a “back-and-forth” relationship, and that Kelly Wood was “estranged” from her father.
“The daughter was estranged from Ray, and every time he tried to reconnect with her she pushed him away,” Reginald Wood told Atlanta Black Star.
He added that in a 2008 lawsuit Kelly Wood “sued her own father” and asked for punitive damages, but he did not specify what the lawsuit concerned.
Reginald Wood provided a copy his cousin’s will, dated July 2009, in which Raymond Wood wrote that his daughter, referred to in the letter as Kelly Adams, “does not have any regard for my overall welfare or personal well-being.”
Wood went on to say that he was concerned his daughter would “attempt to manipulate me, or my property to meet her own needs, concerns or desires.” He requested that he be consigned to the care of Reginald Wood in case he became unable to care for himself.
Kelly Wood called the release of the letter “slanderous” and accused Reginald Wood of forging it for his own gain as a ploy to get more attention for his book.
Reginald Wood authored a book published last month, “The Ray Wood Story,” about his cousin’s ordeal in relation to his undercover work with the NYPD.
He said he hopes the book will help people “empathize with what he had to go through and the sorrow that he had and the guilt and remorse that he had from this whole situation.”
The letter attributed to Raymond Wood alleges he was directed by his handlers in the police department to get Walter Bowe and Khaleel Sayyed, two key members of Malcolm X’s security detail, to participate in the Statue of Liberty bombing plot, which ultimately resulted in their arrests just days before the assassination.
Wood claimed he was inside the ballroom the day of the assassination and identified by witnesses, but his daughter challenged this idea, claiming her father had been publicly identified as the undercover officer involved in the Statue of Liberty plot and that it would have been too risky for him to be there.
After Malcolm X’s family called for the onetime Nation of Islam national spokesman’s death to be investigated further amid the release of the letter, Kelly Wood said the family should “find another way to get the answers that you need and the closure that you need.”
“I support you 100 percent,” she said, “but on this, with my father, I cannot.”