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Warren Commission Report: Page 231« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER V - Detention and Death of Oswald)

Then the change--going to put two cars up there. There is no reason why that back car can't get all the way back to the jail office. The original plan would be that the line of officers would be from the jail door to the vehicle. Then they say, "Here he comes." * * * It is too late to get the people out of the way of the car and form the line. I am aware that. Oswald is already coming because of the furor, so, I was trying to keep everybody out of the way and keep the way clear and I heard a shot.215


Therefore, regardless of whether the press should have been allowed to witness the transfer, security measures in the basement for Oswald's protection could and should have been better organized and more thorough. These additional deficiencies were directly related to the decision to admit newsmen to the basement. The Commission concludes that the failure of the police to remove Oswald secretly or to control the crowd in the basement at the time of the transfer were the major causes of the security breakdown which led to Oswald's death.

NEWS COVERAGE AND POLICE POLICY

Consistent with its policy of allowing news representatives to remain within the working quarters of the Police and Courts Building, the police department made every effort to keep the press fully informed about the progress of the investigation. As a result, from Friday afternoon until after the killing of Oswald on Sunday, the press was able to publicize virtually all of the information about the case which had been gathered until that time. In the process, a great deal of misinformation was disseminated to a worldwide audience. (For some examples see app. XII.)


As administrative assistant to Chief Curry, Captain King also handled departmental press relations and issued press releases. According to King, it was "the responsibility of each member of the department to furnish to the press information on incidents in which they, themselves, were involved, except on matters which involved * * * personnel policies of the department, or * * * unless it would obviously interfere with an investigation underway." 216 In Oswald's case, Chief Curry released most of the information to. the press. He and Assistant Chief Batchelor agreed on Friday that Curry would make all announcements to the press.217 However, there is no evidence that this decision was ever communicated to the rest of the police force. The chief consequence appears to have been that Batchelor refrained from making statements to the news media during this period.


Most of the information was disclosed through informal oral statements or answers to questions at impromptu and clamorous press conferences in the third floor corridor. Written press releases were not employed. The ambulatory press conference became a familiar sight during these days. Whenever Curry or other officials appeared in the

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