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Warren Commission Report: Page 206« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER V - Detention and Death of Oswald)

that there were droves of people in there * * * the fact that the method by which you positively identify someone * * * it's not easy." 73


Police officers on the third floor testified that they carefully checked all persons for credentials, and most newsmen indicated that after Batchelor imposed security they were required to identify themselves by their press cards.74 Special Agent Sorrels of the Secret Service stated that he was requested to present credentials on some of his visits to the third floor.75 However, other newsmen apparently went unchallenged during the entire period before Oswald was killed, al though some of them were wearing press badges on their lapels and some may have been known to the police officers. 76


According to some reporters and policemen, people who appeared to be unauthorized were present on the third floor after security procedures were instituted, and video tapes seem to confirm their observations.77 Jack Ruby was present on the third floor on Friday night.78 Assistant Chief of Police N. T. Fisher testified that even on Saturday "anybody could come up with a plausible reason for going to one of the third floor bureaus and was able to get in." 79

Oswald and the Press

When the police car bringing Oswald from the Texas Theatre drove into the basement of police headquarters at about 2 p.m. on Friday, some reporters and cameramen, principally from local papers and stations, were already on hand. The policemen formed a wedge around Oswald and conducted him to the elevator, but several newsmen crowded into the elevator with Oswald and the police. When the elevator stopped at the third floor, the cameramen ran ahead down the corridor, and then turned around and backed up, taking pictures of Oswald as he was escorted toward the homicide and robbery bureau office. According to one escorting officer, some six or seven reporters followed the police into the bureau office.80


From Friday afternoon, when Oswald arrived in the building, until Sunday, newspaper reporters and television cameras focused their attention on the homicide office. In full view and within arm's length of the assembled newsmen, Oswald traversed the 20 feet of corridor between the homicide office and the locked door leading to the jail elevator at least 15 times after his initial arrival. The jail elevator, sealed off from public use, took him to his fifth floor cell and to the assembly room in the basement for lineups and the Friday night news conference.81


On most occasions, Oswald's escort of three to six detectives and policemen had to push their way through the newsmen who sought to surround them. (See Commission Exhibit No. 2631, p. 205.) Although the Dallas press normally did not take pictures of a prisoner without first obtaining permission of the police, who generally asked the prisoner, this practice was not followed by any of the newsmen with Oswald.82 Generally when Oswald appeared the newsmen turned their cameras on him, thrust microphones at his face, and shouted

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