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Beside them, club promoters hand out flyers emblazoned with pictures of near naked women.
It was a seedy end for Shabazz, who spent years in juvenile detention after being convicted of manslaughter and arson for the fire that killed his grandmother Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X’s widow.
Malcolm X was an outspoken leader of the Nation of Islam and is also known by his Muslim name, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. He was shot to death in 1965 at a speaking engagement in New York and three men were convicted of the murder.
Staff at the Divercity club said the spot was closed in the early hours of Thursday when Shabazz was dumped on the sidewalk.
“There used to be lots of fights around here, but then they outlawed drinking openly in Plaza Garibaldi, and it’s quieter now,” said Sergio Adrian, a Mariachi dressed in a cowboy hat, orange leather jacket and pointed white boots and lugging a battered bass.
Several people Reuters spoke to in the area said they heard a young man had died after jumping out of a window when drunk.
“That’s the story I’ve heard. That he was so drunk, that he opened a window and jumped out,” said 31-year-old Javier Angeles, who stood on the far side of the main road from Palace, waving down taxis for customers leaving the square. He described Palace as a “place for adults, not a family place.”
But there are no windows above the area where Shabazz lay dying, and others had no doubt he was murdered.
“Here they kill you and nobody even realizes,” said 48-year-old local Antonio Moncada, as he stood outside Palace. “On a Sunday, a Tuesday, at any time of the day.”