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Warren Commission Report: Page 196« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER IV - The Assassin)

CHAPTER V - Detention and Death of Oswald

LEE HARVEY OSWALD spent almost all of the last 48 hours of his life in the Police and Courts Building, a gray stone structure in downtown Dallas that housed the headquarters of the Dallas Police Department and the city jail. Following his arrest early Friday afternoon, Oswald was brought immediately to this building and remained there until Sunday morning, November 24, when he was scheduled to be transferred to the county jail. At 11:21 that morning, in full view of millions of people watching on television, Oswald was fatally wounded by Jack Ruby, who emerged suddenly from the crowd of newsmen and policemen witnessing the transfer and fired a single shot at Oswald.


Whether the killing of Oswald was part of a conspiracy involving the assassination of President Kennedy is considered in chapter VI. Aside from that question, the occurrences within the Police and Courts Building between November 22 and 24 raise other important issues concerning the conduct of law enforcement officials, the responsibilities of the press, the rights of accused persons, and the administration of criminal justice in the United States. The Commission has therefore deemed it necessary to determine the facts concerning Oswald's detention and death and to evaluate the actions and responsibilities of the police and press involved in these events.

TREATMENT OF OSWALD IN CUSTODY

The focal center of the Police and Courts Building during Oswald's detention was the third floor, which housed the main offices of the Dallas Police Department. The public elevators on this floor opened into a lobby midpoint of a corridor that extended along the length of the floor for about 140 feet. At one end of this 7-foot-wide corridor were the offices occupied by Chief of Police Jesse E. Curry and his immediate subordinates; at the other end was a small pressroom that could accommodate only a handful of reporters. Along this corridor were other police offices, including those of the major detective bureaus. Between the pressroom and the lobby was the complex of offices
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