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  » Appendix IV
  » Appendix V
  » Appendix VI
  » Appendix VII
  » Appendix VIII
  » Appendix IX
  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
  » Appendix XII
  » Appendix XIII
  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 226« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER V - Detention and Death of Oswald)

who is functioning in his capacity as such. Such activity on the part of any Police Officer is regarded by the press as an infringement of rights, and the Department shares this view.181

Under this policy, news representatives ordinarily had access to the Police and Courts Building. The first newsmen to arrive on Friday afternoon were admitted in accordance with the policy; others who came later simply followed behind them. Shortly after Oswald arrived, Captain King granted permission to bring television cameras to the third floor.182 By the time the unwieldy proportions of the crowd of newsmen became apparent, it had already become well entrenched on the third floor. No one suggested reversing the department's policy expressed in General Order No. 81. Chief Curry testified that at no time did he consider clearing the crowd from the building; he "saw no particular harm in allowing the media to observe the prisoner." 183 Captain King later stated candidly that he simply became "accustomed to the idea of them being out there." 184

The general policy of the Dallas police recognized that the rule of full cooperation did not apply when it might jeopardize an investigation.185 In retrospect, most members of the department believed that the general rule allowing admittance of the press to the police quarters should not have been followed after the assassination. Few, if any, thought this at the time.186 By failing' to exclude the press from the building on Friday and Saturday, the Dallas police made it possible for the uncontrolled crowd to nearly surround Oswald on the frequent occasions that he moved through the third floor corridor. The decision to allow newsmen to observe the transfer on Sunday followed naturally the policy established during these first 2 days of Oswald's detention. The reporters and cameramen descended upon the third floor of the Police and Courts Building in such numbers that the pressroom on the third floor proved wholly inadequate. Rather than the "two or three or maybe a half dozen reporters" who normally appeared to cover local police stories, 187 the police were faced with upward of 100. Bringing with them cameras, microphones, cables, and spotlights, the newsmen inevitably spilled over into areas where they interfered with the transaction of police business and the maintenance of security.188

Aside from numbers, the gathering of reporters presented a problem because most of them were representatives of the national and foreign press, rather than the local press.189 These newsmen carried individual press cards rather than identification cards issued by the Dallas police. Therefore, it was impossible for the police to verify quickly the identity of this great number of unfamiliar people who appeared almost simultaneously.190 Because of the close physical proximity of the milling mass of insistent newsmen to the prisoner, the failure to authenticate press credentials subjected the prisoner to a serious security risk.

Although steps were taken on Friday afternoon to insure that persons seeking entry to the third floor were there for a legitimate purpose,

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