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Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 1:16 am
Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line.

From Joe McBride's book.

Henry Wade’s reputation has been even more seriously damaged, if not destroyed, in recent years
because of exposure of how regularly his office worked to convict innocent people. As was mentioned
in Chapter 9, Errol Morris’s 1988 documentary film, The Thin Blue Line (made, ironically, with
Wade’s initial cooperation), brought a widespread spotlight on that process a year after Wade’s
retirement. The film shows how the police and the DA’s office had been willing to let the actual slayer
of another Dallas policeman, Robert Wood, go free in order to pin the crime on an innocent man.
Morris strongly suggests that since the actual killer, David Harris, was a juvenile, the authorities
needed someone old enough to be executed in what they considered sufficient revenge for a cop
killing, so the adult falsely accused by Harris in the 1976 slaying, Randall Dale Adams, served as their
scapegoat. As in the case of the killing of Tippit, it seemed not to matter to the authorities whether or
not they convicted the actual killer of a fellow lawman, only that they “solved” the crime relatively
quickly and sent someone to the chair.

What the judge in the Adams case, Don Metcalfe, calls onscreen “the thin blue line of police that
separates the public from anarchy,” a most ironic comment in light of what happened, also failed to
provide justice in the Tippit killing. Detective Gus Rose -- one of the culpable figures in the Thin Blue
Line case who was also involved in the Kennedy and Tippit murder cases -- notes the urgency in
solving the murder of Officer Wood: “It was gettin’ awful close to Christmas. We’d never really gone
that long in Dallas without clearing the death of a police officer. We’d had several killed, but we’d
always cleared them pretty quick. And this case had gone a month, or nearly a month, and we still
hadn’t cleared it.” The relentless dissection of fraudulent “evidence” by Morris in his documentary
film and the similarities of the shootings of Wood and Tippit on lonely streets in Dallas, with a
plethora of conflicting, dubious, and misused witness testimony in both cases, including key witnesses
whose false accounts may have been given partly because their children were in trouble with the law,
give The Thin Blue Line many haunting resonances of the Tippit case. Although fingering the alleged
killer of Officer Wood within three weeks may seem a quick solution, in the Tippit case, the police
who swarmed into Oak Cliff were more efficient, bringing a suspect into custody within only about
forty-five minutes.

On the weekend of the Kennedy, Tippit, and Oswald murders, as can be seen in a chilling sequence
in the 1967 documentary film version of Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment, the DA’s office’s generally
amoral and ruthless attitude prevailed, as Wade relentlessly prosecuted Oswald in the court of public
opinion. Before an investigation could barely begin, Wade was interviewed by a TV reporter who
asked, “And will you ask death in the electric chair for Lee Oswald?” “Yes sir,” said Wade. Another
reporter asked, “How many cases of this type have you been involved in, that is when the death
penalty is involved?” Wade said, “Since I’ve been district attorney, we’ve -- I’ve asked the death
penalty in twenty-four cases.” “And how many times have you attained it?” the reporter continued.
Wade replied in a blunt, stone-faced monotone, “Twenty-three.” The fact that an extralegal death
penalty was meted out to Oswald in the basement of the police headquarters shortly thereafter
probably saved the DA further ignominy in losing what would have been the biggest case of his career.
Nevertheless, at his November 24 news conference reviewing the so-called evidence in the
assassination after Oswald was slain, Wade declared, “I’ve sent people to the electric chair on less.”

That was not an idle boast. A later Dallas district attorney, Craig Watkins, who became the first
African American to become a DA in Texas when he was inaugurated in 2007, embarked on a crusade
to reinvestigate cases in which Wade’s office had prosecuted defendants on dubious evidence. As in
the Adams case, Wade, again ironically, had preserved much of the exculpatory evidence (largely
involving DNA samples) that Watkins used in setting up a “Conviction Integrity Unit.” Watkins found
that Wade indeed had falsely convicted many innocent people. The new DA said in 2008 that the
office under Wade had operated on a philosophy of “convict at all costs . . . It was a badge of honor at
the time to knowingly convict someone that wasn’t guilty. It’s widely known among defense attorneys
and prosecutors from that era. We had to clean out the remnants of that older way of thinking.”

Watkins’s website pointedly declared in 2012 that he “protects the most vulnerable citizens by
using innovative strategies like DNA testing to make sure his office is putting the right people in jail.
DA Watkins’ interest in conviction integrity led to partnering with the Innocence Project of Texas to
aid the wrongfully convicted.” He tasked a unit to review almost five hundred cases in which there
was reason to suspect a wrongful conviction and DNA evidence was available to test. After being
reelected in 2010, Watkins began to review cases in which no potentially exculpatory DNA evidence
existed. As of April 2012, thirty people had been exonerated in Watkins’s reinvestigations of past
convictions. Cases are still being reexamined by Watkins’s office, using evidence Wade had stored in
his files. “We believe in being smart on crime,” Watkins declared on his website. “This means
convicting the guilty and freeing the innocent.”

Wade indeed had a different philosophy, to the detriment of both Lee Harvey Oswald and Randall
Dale Adams. The Dallas Morning News in 1986 revealed a 1963 memorandum from Wade’s office
advising Dallas prosecutors on how to pick juries: “Do not take Jews, Negroes, Dagos, Mexicans or
members of any minority race on a jury, no matter how rich or well-educated.” Although Adams was
falsely convicted to a death sentence in 1977 through the work of Wade’s top assistant at the time,
Douglas Mulder, the sentence was later commuted to life. Adams was freed because of the Morris
film when Wade’s successor as DA, John Vance, dropped all charges. Adams says with
understandable bitterness in The Thin Blue Line, “You have a DA, he doesn’t talk about when they
convict you, or how they convict you. He’s talking about how he’s going to kill you. He don’t give a
damn if you’re innocent, he don’t give a damn if you’re guilty. He’s talking about killing you.”

The Dallas authorities couldn’t wait for a capital trial in the Oswald case, because Oswald would
have kept talking, and they couldn’t afford to actually solve the murders of either Kennedy or Tippit,
so they had to rely on Jack Ruby to perform the execution in short order, extralegally. The public
statements of the Dallas police about the presumed guilt of Oswald and Randall Adams were
strikingly similar. Gus Rose, who gave Adams the third degree to try to elicit a confession, told
Morris in The Thin Blue Line, “He, of course, almost overacted his innocence. He just -- he protested
that he hadn’t done anything. He couldn’t imagine why we were bringing him in.” Before Oswald was
shot, when Chief Curry was asked on television what the prisoner’s mood was during the questioning,
the chief similarly accused Oswald of being “arrogant” for insisting on his innocence.
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 1:22 am
On March 31, 2013, Kennedy assassination researcher William Kelly, who has done a great deal of
important work on under-explored areas of the case, issued a provocative proposal on the Education Forum’s JFK Assassination Debate website for “Legal Options in the Case of the Murdered President.” In addition to suggesting various options for trying to force reconsideration of the Kennedy case in order to bring about more of a sense of justice, Kelly addressed the Tippit case by proposing that Watkins become involved:Dallas County Grand Jury. Under Dallas D.A. Craig Watkins, the Innocence Project has reviewed the cases of those convicted for crimes and utilizing DNA and other modern techniques, [has] freed many wrongfully convicted persons. It may be possible to show that there are sufficient questions concerning the circumstances of the murder of Dallas policeman J.D. Tippitt [sic], and a number of new witnesses have come forward, and that a local grand jury should be convened to review the facts of the case and take new witness
testimony to determine if there is enough evidence to bring any living suspect to trial.Kelly reminds us all that this murder case that was never really opened should never be regarded as

Greg Lowrey observed that in the interlocking world of Kennedy assassination-related connections, it seemed that “Everybody knew each other.” It may be pure coincidence, just a sign of how the goodold- boy network worked in Texas during that era, that John Connally, Henry Wade, Eugene Locke, and even Penn Jones all attended the University of Texas, Austin, at the same time in the late 1930s (Wade told me, “I knew Connally well,” but the former DA said he knew Locke better in their Dallas days than he had in Austin, which would be natural for a DA and a prominent local attorney who were members of the same political party). More crucial to the case are the possible interconnections of Oswald, Ruby, and Tippit.

Lowrey commented that the frustration of studying the assassination and the Tippit killing is that
some of the story remains tantalizingly unknown or unknowable, that we lack some of the necessary information to draw connections that may be crucial between these people and the milieu we know they inhabited. Lowrey said of Tippit, “I think he got himself involved with some real dangerous people in circumstances I don’t understand. I can’t even explain it. He might have had some dangerous knowledge.” Lowrey also speculated that Tippit may have “blundered” into that knowledge.

Scattered accounts of personal meetings that may or may not have happened among Oswald, Ruby, and Tippit or what may have been random occurrences are harder to prove and less significant in the overall picture than what Scott calls the “deep politics” surrounding them. What is particularly suggestive about Tippit’s situation in the early sixties is that he worked in establishments that put him in possible contact with a nexus of the far-right groups and organizations that were so influential in Dallas during that period. These connections are not enough to establish that Tippit was involved in far-right political activities himself, but at the least it shows that he moved in that milieu, wearing a Dallas Police Department uniform and carrying a gun, and could have been influenced by that milieu and become known to members of the Dallas extremist element.

So it is worth noting that the humble Oak Cliff rib joint where he worked, Austin’s Barbecue, was
not only a rowdy teenage hangout on weekends, necessitating the presence of an offduty policeman as a security guard, but that it was run by a Bircher and was a prominent meeting place for corrupt “police characters,” mobsters, and leading far-right elements in the “City of Hate.” It is conceivable that some in that interconnecting milieu (such as Ralph Paul, Ruby, Bill Alexander, fanatical associates of General Edwin Walker, et al) could have become aware of Tippit because he was so visible in his uniform for three years at Austin’s Barbecue. Conspirators could have realized he was financially vulnerable, since after working his fulltime job as a police officer during the daytime, he was keeping order at Austin’s from ten at night until two in the morning on Fridays and Saturdays for about ten dollars an hour while struggling to pay the mortgages on two houses (not to mention his other job as a security guard at the Stevens Park Theater). In a 1985 article for his assassination journal The Third Decade, Jerry Rose discussed “the large number of indirect linkages of Ruby and Tippit” and raised the possibility that “Tippit was recruited into a conspiracy against Oswald by employing the linkages between [Oswald’s] own associations and those of Tippit” (see more about this in Chapter 13).
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 1:34 am
Some writers have tried to insinuate that Tippit was a racist (partly through the unsubtle trope of
falsely claiming his given names were “Jefferson Davis”) or a member of the far-right Minutemen or John Birch Society organizations. And as was reported in Chapter 9, Miami police informant William Somersett claimed that the racist Joseph A. Milteer told him Tippit was a Klan member, the only such allegation that has been made about Tippit, one from questionable sources, and as such unreliable.

Tippit was a member of a police force heavily infested with Klansmen; his oldest friend in the force,Morris Brumley, was an admitted Klansman. Tippit also had connections with Birchers and anti-Castro Cubans. But to date no direct association between Tippit and any known members of the Minutemen has surfaced. Was Tippit involved with organized crime, which is known to have
flourished in Dallas under the jurisdiction of Carlos Marcello, the New Orleans mob boss, often
suspected of being one of the masterminds of the Kennedy assassination? A link between Tippit and the mob has also been alleged, but such claims may stem mostly from unproven allegations that he was friendly with Jack Ruby and from insinuations surrounding the mysterious question raised by former CIA director Allen Dulles about a “rumor [that] reached me that Officer Tippit had been some way involved in some narcotic trouble.”

And despite the involvement of Brumley and other Dallas policemen in the KKK, and despite
Tippit’s own father’s casually expressed racist language, J. D. himself seems to have left no traces of such taint. But the fact that the available records (at least the ones that have survived possible
sanitizing and have emerged for public scrutiny) don’t show any such connections between Tippit and rightwing extremist groups is not conclusive evidence that he was merely an innocent observer of Dallas’s rampant extremism in that period. For someone to candidly boast about such connections, as Brumley did with me, is unusual. Tippit left few if any traces of his political beliefs.

As previously discussed, although his boss Austin Cook, a member of the John Birch Society at the time, thought,“We just didn’t have that much in common in politics,” Cook added that Tippit “probably wasn’t as conservative as I was, but I think he was fairly conservative.”

What can be stated with certainty is that even though Dallas was, in 1963, a large city (population:
679,000), the circles in which Oswald and Tippit were moving, along with Jack Ruby, may have been tangential but were also interlocking, a suggestive fact for three people involved in a murderous tangle of world-shaking proportions.

Despite providing me with information that calls aspects of the official story in question, Officer
Tippit’s father, Edgar Lee Tippit, loyally continued to defend his son’s reputation: “I don’t want to say nothing [against] J. D. You couldn’t know a better guy than J. D. I don’t guess J. D. had enemies; I didn’t know it. I never called a man a liar but one time. A man in Paris [Texas] said that he [J. D.] was into it [the assassination]. I said he was a liar. A woman said, ‘This is the boy’s Daddy.’ They [people who make such speculation] just talk; they don’t know more than I do.”

But Tippit’s father, like most people, was less than entirely certain in his understanding of Lee
Oswald’s role in the events of November 22. Asked whether he thought Oswald killed President
Kennedy, Edgar Lee admitted having some doubts about the Warren Commission version: “I wouldn’t know myself. You’ll never know. But you couldn’t make me believe the other way. If [Oswald] didn’t do it, why run and kill J. D.? He was panicked enough to kill J. D. I think he done it to get away.”

Edgar Lee said he didn’t know much about J. D.’s police work because “He didn’t talk much about work.” Nevertheless, the elder Tippit added, “I rode all over Dallas with J. D. several times.” The last time the father saw his son was a few days before November 22, when they visited with other relatives in Fort Worth. “Nothing wrong” was evident at that time. But Edgar Lee did tell his wife before the assassination, “The president better stay out of Dallas.” When I asked why he said that, he explained, “I didn’t think he’d be killed. I just thought they’d rotten-egg him. That was a bad bunch.” Although Edgar Lee later became soured on the Kennedy family because of Chappaquiddick and reports of other scandals, he said, “I thought we had us a good president when we got John F. Kennedy.”

I was moved when Edgar Lee told me, “I hated so bad” the fact that Oswald was murdered before
he could stand trial. “I didn’t want him shot. We need to find out what did happen. Oswald, we all
know there was something to the back of him. There had to be. I mean, Jack Ruby killed him to stop him talking. He never did have a chance. That had to be why he was killed.”

The murder of Officer Tippit also disrupted our need to find out what happened. If he had not been shot, or survived his shooting, some of the mysteries surrounding his behavior, and Oswald’s, might have been answered. If Tippit’s shooting had not served as a pretext for so many policemen and other law enforcement officials to swarm into Oak Cliff, Oswald might not have been captured so quickly, which also would have changed the history of those events. And if, as some have theorized, Tippit’s job was either to help Oswald escape or to silence him, then the police had to find another way to get the troublesome “assassin” off their hands. Enter Jack Ruby. In the next chapter, we’ll look into the strange behavior of Tippit in the immediate aftermath of the assassination and examine the various stories that might help account for his activities and his killing.
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 1:39 am
Although there is evidence that Tippit was living beyond his financial means, and though he was in
contact with some of Dallas’s many political extremists, perhaps he was a minor “cutout” in a larger operation and was not told more than he needed to know, as is customary in criminal conspiracies.

Perhaps Tippit, who everyone agrees was poorly educated and did not show signs of political
sophistication, did not fully understand the agenda of those for whom he was doing some kind of job, possibly only for monetary reasons.Perhaps it is worth reiterating here the cryptic comment by Tippit’s superior, Sergeant Calvin Bud Owens, that Tippit was too busy to get into trouble, not perhaps the most glowing character reference.

But Tippit did have time for extramarital affairs, even if, as one of his mistresses, Johnnie Maxie
Witherspoon put it, “He worked most of the time.” But such is the insufficient nature of the original non-investigations of Tippit, and the necessarily spotty nature of investigations by independent researchers to attempt to fill in the gaps, it cannot be ruled out that Tippit might have been involved with one or more or these extremist groups. New evidence continually surfaces in the assassination, even after so many years, and it is possible, if increasingly improbable, that more about Tippit and his role might come to light.

Could Tippit have been just what he seemed, a “poor dumb cop” who got in the way of history?
Unfortunately for those who need heroes, there is too much conflicting evidence to enable us to accept such a simplistic view of the events of the last day of Tippit’s life. If it is hard to imagine policemen being satisfied with pinning the killing of one of their own on an innocent man, then the reader should just watch The Thin Blue Line to see exactly how such a travesty of justice can occur, with the connivance of Henry Wade and others involved in the Tippit case, in order to wrap up the casequickly. Could a misguided sense of patriotism also have been one of the reasons for Tippit’s fellow policemen to hide the facts about his life and death?

Such a motive in hiding the truth about the Kennedy assassination was at work in the mind of John
Connally, the Texas governor who was wounded in the assassination along with Kennedy. Connally always refused publicly to endorse the Warren Commission’s single-bullet theory. Both he and his wife, Nellie, firmly maintained from November 1963 until the ends of their lives that the governor was wounded by a separate bullet from the ones that struck Kennedy. But though the next logical step would have been to admit that there were two gunmen, the Connallys would never do so. It seemed that they had decided to confine themselves to dropping a very broad hint. That supposition received confirmation in 2009 when a longtime journalist and Democratic Party congressional staff member,Doug Thompson, who founded the Capitol Hill Blue website, revealed a conversation he and his wife had with Governor Connally in 1982 when he visited Santa Fe for a political fundraiser.

Thompson wrote, “I had to ask. Did he think Lee Harvey Oswald fired the gun that killed
Kennedy?”“Absolutely not,” Connally replied. “I do not, for one second, believe the conclusions of the Warren Commission.”
“So why not speak out?” Thompson asked.
Connally said, “Because I love this country and we needed closure at the time. I will never speak
out publicly about what I believe.”
Others would take a different view of what loving one’s country means. It would mean facing the
facts, hard as it may be, about the assassination of the president, rather than knowingly accepting a
false version that might seem consolatory in its simplicity.

In both murders, Kennedy’s and what Larry Ray Harris called “The Other Murder,” that of Officer
Tippit, the convenient cover stories about a single “lone nut” being responsible for killing both men
were powerful psychological and public-relations manuevers. They enable even people who knew the victims to explain to the world how someone who prefers or pretends to believe a false story can accept a reality that otherwise would seem truly intolerable.

“There are so many people out here with agendas and lies,” Greg Lowrey reflected. But that
intrepid researcher of the Tippit case told me he hoped that “if you strip away the lies, and if you can get to the lies, then you can get to the antithesis. A lot of it is unfortunately lost, but not all of it. We’re left with a lot of broken pieces and fragments.”

So what really happened on November 22, 1963, when Officer J. D. Tippit headed toward his
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 2:52 am


You can tell you put a lot of time and effort into this work.

Steve Thomas
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Thu 30 Mar 2017, 4:16 am
Hi Steve

 This is not my work.This is an excerpt from Joe McBride's book "Into The Nightmare".
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Thu 30 Mar 2017, 7:26 pm
Vinny wrote:Hi Steve

 This is not my work.This is an excerpt from Joe McBride's book "Into The Nightmare".

Ah. I see that now.

I can remember being impressed when I saw some of his work on Youtube one night.

Steve Thomas
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Sun 18 Jun 2017, 10:01 am
greg parker
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Mon 19 Jun 2017, 7:54 am
Outstanding summary - and importantly one that would be easily understood by anyone regardless of their state of knowledge of the assassination.

Last edited by greg parker on Mon 19 Jun 2017, 9:01 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Mon 19 Jun 2017, 8:14 am
A terrible story very well told. It's hard to know who were worse, the good guys or the bad guys.
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Mon 19 Jun 2017, 11:42 am
Greg and Goban:
Thanks for the feedback. This one was difficult and I came close to abandoning it a last week. Then, at the last minute, it all seemed to come together.
Hopefully, it will make people think. That's all we can do.

Ed. Ledoux
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 4:44 pm
Well abandon that thought!
Its the ammo I needed at the opportune time.

Thanks Stan
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Re: Tippit, Oswald, And The Thin Blue Line

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