|Robert Groden in Dealey Plaza |
(CTKA file photo)
Longtime Kennedy assassination critic and author Robert Groden is among Dealey Plaza vendors who are under renewed pressure from Dallas authorities.
Groden was arrested in Dealey Plaza on June 13 and jailed for nearly nine hours.
In a communication with CTKA, Groden discussed a posted story about a crackdown on JFK vendors in Dealey Plaza. He says he was arrested because of a complaint by the Sixth Floor Museum transferred to the Dallas Police.
Groden says he was arrested for selling a single magazine on the grassy knoll.
As described in the article "How Gary Mack Became Dan Rather", Groden was ticketed by the Dallas Police Department 80 times between 1995 and 2006, and arrested on the grassy knoll for the first time in 1998. All 80 tickets (and the arrest) were thrown out of court as being invalid. Groden told CTKA that a city Judge stated, "I can't believe that the police would arrest anyone for a class 'C' misdemeanor. This is ridiculous".
In 2003, Groden began filing a first amendment lawsuit against the city of Dallas and the police department for violation of first amendment rights of free speech, press and assembly. An agreement was reached between Mr. Groden's attorneys and the Dallas city attorney's office that the police would cease such ticketing actions. And for the past seven years the police and the city had honored the agreement.
Groden theorizes that this may be because next year Dallas will be the site of the Super Bowl, drawing tens of thousands of tourists to the city. The number one tourist attraction in Dallas is Dealey Plaza. If all the other independent vendors are essentially stopped from selling anything, the Sixth Floor will be able to be the "one-stop", so to speak, for potentially thousands of new visitors on the JFK case.
Groden says most of the Dallas media are reporting that all of the "peddlers" in Dealey Plaza are refusing to obtain vendor permits from the city. What they fail to say, he goes on, is that there are no vender permits available from the city for printed material and that the city ordinance states that none is needed. In fact, Groden has been trying to access the process for getting one for 15 years. He hasn't been able to find it. So up until now, although the city has ticketed him about 80 times, each attempt ultimately was dismissed and Groden returned to Dealey Plaza.
Groden adds that the fig leaf for the crackdown is the fact that there are three or four homeless transients that frequent the area and get pushy with visitors from time to time. Groden doesn't know these characters and has nothing to do with them. And his work is of a different quality and class than theirs. He insists there should be a legal way to differentiate between the two.
Robert Groden is a recognized photo expert and author of The Killing of a President and several other books.