Malcolm X Day

Malcolm X Assassin Hagan Is Freed on Parole in NYC

Thomas Hagan, only man to admit role in Malcolm X assassination, is freed on parole in NYC
The Associated Press
By JENNIFER PELTZ Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK April 27, 2010 (AP)

NEW YORK — The only man ever to admit involvement in the assassination of Malcolm X was freed on parole Tuesday, 45 years after he helped gun down the civil rights leader.

Thomas Hagan was the last man still serving time in the 1965 killing, part of the skein of violence that wound through the cultural and political upheaval of the 1960s. He was freed from a Manhattan prison where he spent two days a week under a work-release program.

Hagan, 69, has repeatedly expressed sorrow for being one of the gunmen who fired on Malcolm X, killing one of the civil rights era’s most polarizing and compelling figures. One of the groups dedicated to Malcolm X’s memory condemned Hagan’s parole.

Hagan declined to comment after his release.

“I really haven’t had any time to gather my thoughts on anything,” he told The Associated Press by telephone.

…..  The Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which prosecuted Hagan and his co-defendants, declined to comment on Hagan’s release or his account of the killing.

Hagan tried 17 times before being approved last month for parole. He had been sentenced to up to life in prison for what he described in a 2008 court filing as the deed of a young man who “acted out of rage on impulse and loyalty” to religious leaders. (italics added)

I’ve been thinking about the many excuses we have for doing the deeds we do. Young people claim their youthfulness and immaturity for acting out. Older folks may claim frustration with their problems, still others deny any recognition of their actions even being wrong, and blame is continually shifted from self to others. How do we simply stop and take ownership of our actions?

I’m not always proud of what I do, or what I’ve done. I make mistakes and generally screw up sometimes, but Lord, help me accept the consequences of my actions and acknowledge what I’ve done wrong so that I can seek reconciliation with my community.

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