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  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 228« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER V - Detention and Death of Oswald)

* * * to remain in the hallways, * * * to view the investigation and to keep in constant touch with progress of the investigation.

We realized that if we arrested a suspect, that if we brought him into the police station and then conducted all of our investigations behind closed doors, that if we gave no reports on the progress of our investigation and did not permit the newsmen to see the suspect--if we excluded them from it--we would leave ourselves open not only to criticisms that we were fabricating a suspect and were attempting to pin something on someone, but even more importantly, we would cause people to lose faith in our fairness and, through losing faith in our fairness, to lose faith to a certain extent in the processes of law.

We felt it was mandatory that as many people knew about it as possible. We knew, too, that if we did exclude the newsmen, we would be leaving ourselves open to a charge that we were using improper action, duress, physical abuse, all of these things.199

While Oswald was in custody, the Dallas police kept the press informed about the treatment Oswald was receiving. The public could have been assured that the prisoner was not mistreated and that his rights were fully respected by the police, without each one of hundreds of cameramen and reporters being permitted to satisfy himself that the police had not abused the prisoner. This result could have been accomplished by obtaining reports from members of the family who visited him, or by a committee of the bar or other substantial citizens of the community. When it became known on Saturday that Oswald did not have an attorney, the president of the Dallas Bar Association visited him to inquire whether he wished assistance in obtaining counsel.200

Moreover, the right of the public to know does not give the press license to interfere with the efficient operation of law-enforcement agencies. Permitting the press to remain on the third floor of the building served no valid purpose that could not have been met if the press had been excluded from the third floor, as it was from the fourth and fifth floors, and informed of developments either through press releases or at press conferences elsewhere in the building.

Having failed to exclude the mass of the press from the basement during the transfer of Oswald, the police department's security measures

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