City Hall Blames Dealey Plaza Arrest On Sixth Floor. Can You Guess Who Sixth Floor Blames?

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Just for the sake of historical accuracy, I would like to point out that the city of Dallas has claimed in court filings that the Sixth Floor Museum was behind the June 10, 2010, arrest and incarceration of Kennedy assassination author Robert Groden, who is charged with illegally selling literature in Dealey Plaza.

And just for the sake of even more historical accuracy, I would like to remind you of a statement given to me by Sixth Floor director Nicola Longford and included in an Observer cover story published back in April. I'd asked Longford to talk to me about why the museum got Groden arrested. She told me, in a frosty email: "Concerning the city of Dallas and activities in Dealey Plaza, we are not party to the matters you have referenced, and it would thus be improper for us to comment."

Au contraire, it would appear. Not only was the Sixth Floor a party to the arrest of Groden, it was the host of the party, according to papers filed June 16 in Groden's federal lawsuit against the city.

Groden does a brisk weekend trade in books, magazines and CDs, which he sells to tourists from a folding table in the old pergola at the west end of Dealey Plaza, where President John Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. But last year, Groden was arrested by city police officers for selling without a license in a city park. That arrest was tossed by two criminal courts after Groden's lawyers demonstrated that the city doesn't even offer licenses to sell in parks, and Dealey Plaza isn't a park, anyway.

Groden is suing the city in federal court, arguing that his arrest came as the culmination of years of persecution in violation of his civil rights.

But why?

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Mark Graham
Groden peddles his conspiracy theories on Dealy Plaza.
Groden, a conspiracy theorist, has a fairly conspiratorial case to make: that the city wants tourists to hear only the Sixth Floor theory (Oswald did it) and not his own (more people were in on it). Other vendors who work the weekend crowds at Dealey Plaza offer a simpler story: that the Sixth Floor is all fancy-schmancy and best-foot-forward and doesn't want a bunch of rag-tag conspiracy guys junking up the landscape.

And while Longford, the Sixth Floor's gal, told me that the museum had nothing to do with Groden's arrest (before shutting down our brief interview), half the city's defense appears to be that that the Sixth Floor made them do it.

Court records show that police arrested Groden because a security guard working for the Sixth Floor "had observed Groden sell some merchandise from his parked vehicle." Police made the arrest after the guard, who worked for a company hired by the museum, "explained that he was a security guard and that such commercial activity was not permitted there."

Interesting source to rely on in making an arrest. Just a month before, police had accused an employee of the same security company, Platinum Security and Consulting, of trying to steal a safe from the Sixth Floor. And the day after Groden's arrest, Tanya Eiserer in The Dallas Morning News had what we in the news business call a real good story pointing out that Platinum had recently paid a $10,000 fine for using 140 unlicensed guards, some with criminal histories.

But, sure. If we're the cops and we have to decide whether to arrest a prominent author for selling books and CDs in a public place, let's ask Professor Platinum. He works for the Sixth Floor Museum, after all.

Still, the city won't cry "Uncle!" in Groden's federal suit. They admit they don't really have licenses for selling in parks, but they say they could totally have some if they wanted to. They admit that Dealey Plaza isn't really a designated park, but they say it totally should be. And, anyway, the Sixth Floor started it.

Not the strongest case. So what does the city have going for itself? An entire wing of City Hall filled with lawyers. That's what they have. That and a great deal of patience. Plus, when the suit finally does settle and that big cash register rings in the sky, guess who will will be paying Mr. Groden?

That bell tolls for thee, my fellow taxpayer. It tolls for thee.


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34 comments
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Dr8kangas
Dr8kangas

Occupy the Grassy Knoll is planning a rally on 11-21-2013.

Dr8kangas
Dr8kangas

I hear they don't like Robert Groden showing tourists the photos of Geo HW Bush standing next to the TSBD when Howard Hunt and Sturgis Shot President Kennedy. Bush looks like he is laughing hysterically.

What's so funny?

Elzlaws
Elzlaws

I visited Dealey Plaza for the first time last July, 2011, I was bilked out of $10 by a man that told me & my friend that he WORKED for the Sixth Floor Museum and offered us an informational tour of Dealey Plaza - when he was done, he politely asked us for a donation we gave him $10....later when we went in the museum, we asked about him & found out he was a fraud....he did not work for the museum:/ .............. and the museum ppl did not care that he was outside misrepresenting himself as their employee :/Maybe instead of harrassing Groden, they should be on the lookout for those that are cheating ppl out of $$ that way - next time WE will be more careful!! Why didn't they care that we, their customers, were cheated out of $$?????  

Bill
Bill

Go Robert,,,,,,,,,,, 

Ricky79
Ricky79

1. It is a violation of a number of City ordenaces to sell products in and around Dealey Plazza.  That has been and is a legal fact that the author of this article should have presented citing the City Code.

2. Who reports the crime is irrelevant if a crime has occurred and is continuing to occur.  Don't blame the Museum as Gronden's illegal activities are well documented over the last 20 years.  Groden has been repeatedly ticked and arrested several times and given criminal tresspass warings by the parking lot owner.  Many have reported Groden over the years.  The cops saw a crime so they made the arrest!  Groden even admitted to the crime!

3.  Dealey Plazza is a park as designated by the City and it is a historical site with a memorial plaque.

4. The city has the right to issue permits and impose taxes which Groden refuses to pay.  Groden operates a cash only type crime so that he does not have to pay taxes including sales tax.

YES Groden will lose this suit and will PAY!

John Peter Gill
John Peter Gill

Nicola Longford(If British)is the P.A. who i was told by Gary Mack is the P.A. who vets all Researchers from attending 6th floor talks on the assassinations keeping out the conspiracy nuts and followers and people who dont follow the Warren commission report.

Tom Bowden
Tom Bowden

I am reminded of the time when we opened the Conspiracy Museum and the New York Times did a half page spread on us with picture.  The Sixth Floor Museum had agreed to hand out our pamphlets the week before . The Executive Director called the Times and wanted to know why we had received coverage and they never had received the Royal Treatment.  The next day, They stopped handing out our brochure and personnel were told to deny knowledge of our location. That was their policy for almost two years.  Tom Bowden

Guest
Guest

Does Jim try to interview those that he is crusading against anymore?  Just curious. 

JimS
JimS

Oh, yes. I have tried on numerous occasions to interview Ms. Longford, and she has steadfastly declined to talk. An excellent suggestion of your part, nevertheless, and one that I will pass on to professors of journalism everywhere. 

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

The question I have is what was the basis for making a full-custodial arrest for what was classified as a Class C misdemeanor if the officer(s) did not witness the alleged offense. Those familiar with the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure would like to know.

BCulbreath
BCulbreath

I sure would like to know what law was violated when Groden open his car trunk,took out something and handed it to someone.There is no room for car to park on Plaza so where did rent a cop see this happen?

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

So if I understand this correctly, the City of Dallas is telling them that the police arrested a man on public property, not under the control of a private company, because the private company told them to do so?  Hey City of Dallas, I am hereby directing you to arrest the attendees at the next JWP "no justice, no peace" rally.

Justin Julian
Justin Julian

I know this: my wife owns a microbusiness (aka, a small business with no assets, out of our home) and we frequently vend around Dallas, including the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market.  I know we have to register for sales tax, and pay it quarterly.  The organizers of DEOM have to have a buttload of permits, inspections, insurance, etc to throw the market...in a parking lot.  NOT a public space intended for other use, a private space.  That's right, DEOM has to have permission from the city to allow people to sell things from a private lot.

Whatever grounds Groden is standing on to be able to sell on public property without any sort of license or permit, they just can't be that strong.  First amendment protection doesn't include commerce.  You still have to follow all rules and regulations regarding selling things, even if you're selling your 'free speech' embodied in a book or other form.

IF he can sell there, you'd better believe we're going to have our tables up there DAILY.  Free vending?  Public place?  High traffic?  Oh hell yeah, I can quit my day job!

Name2
Name2

I know, right? I have a non-microbusiness that I run out of my house. I pay quarterly taxes. Just the other day I saw a lemonade stand that some neighborhood kids were running and I wondered if they pay theirs or not.

All kidding aside, folks.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I've noticed a few others in your situation. This piece was not about if this man is paying his taxes or not. Rather, it was about how the city chooses to use our tax money to go after people and what those motives might be. You may certainly be correct, or maybe not, to have a complaint if this man is paying his fair share but you missed the point of the article.

JimS
JimS

All I can tell you is that the city was provided its day in court to make a case, and the judge tossed it. The city had no viable system of licensing for sales in a park. And Dealey Plaza is not a park anyway. Existing city laws specifically allow sales of books and printed material to avoid First Amendment problems. Groden was obeying the law. That's why the city got tossed out of criminal court.  Groden is suing in federal court because he says he was arrested illegally in violation of his civil rights.

Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch

It was a municipal court Jim. That's just a half step above a JP court. 99% of municipal court work is traffic tickets. It is not a court where weighty constitutional questions are decided.......in most instances.

Cujo
Cujo

" where President John Kenney was assassinated on November 22, 1963." - HTH!Signed, The Spellpeckers of Texas.

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

I think the guy who ratted out Groden can be found on the grassy knoll.

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

Yep, dead on. The City officials make the mistakes and the taxpayers get the bill for their stupidity and mean spirited behavior. That's because city officials consider the taxpayer's money as "monopoly money". Guaranteed, things would be different if city officials could be held individually accountable, financially, for their mistakes (that's how the rest of us have to live).

Even so, I wish Groden all the best. In fact, I hope he cleans their clock. Maybe a few court challenges will start to send a strong message to City Hall that "everyone has a boss".

John_McKee
John_McKee

So can I got to Dealey plaza and sell any crap that I want without the costly overhead of every other company that does business in the area of some sort of storefront? Or is running a business on public property for free just the right of people peddling conspiracy theories?

JimS
JimS

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

SellHigh
SellHigh

Most cities have a code that requires people who are selling things to have a permit. If Dallas has such a code, did or did not Groden have a permit to sell? If not, guilty.

Jay
Jay

Last time I went through the 6th Floor Museum, there was an extensive area in the museum dedicated to all manner of conspiracy theories concerning the assassination and alleged cover-up.

I would still like to know if Mr. Groden charges and remits sales tax (state, city, county) on the sales he conducted on public property. 

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

You guys are some picky motherfuckers.

Andy Nold
Andy Nold

 Yeah, the ability to properly compose an article isn't really that important in professional journalism. Not like it affects the content or credibility, right?

G_David
G_David

The he/she thing was a petty waste of time, but I have to admit the guide/guard typo actually did throw me for a bit of a loop.  I'm assuming the 6th Floor might actually have some guides, though 140 of them would probably be overkill.

scottindallas
scottindallas

"Platinum had recently paid a $10,000 fine for using 140 unlicensed guides, some with criminal histories."

Are they guides, or guards?

Niceguytx
Niceguytx

Nicola Longford is a woman. Pretty basic fact to check...

G_David
G_David

No need, with the gender pricks like niceguy running rampant.

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