Testimony Of Patrick T. Dean

The President's Commission reconvened at 2 p.m. (Chairman Warren presiding and Mr. Dulles present.)

The CHAIRMAN - All right, gentlemen.
Do you have a statement?
Mr. RANKIN - Sergeant Dean asked if he couldn't appear before the Commission and testify. We took his deposition in Dallas, and he asked, when he signed his deposition, whether he couldn't appear personally, so we are permitting him to do this.
The CHAIRMAN - We are very happy to have you, Sergeant. Will you raise your right hand and be sworn, please?
You solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give before the Commission shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. DEAN - I do.
The CHAIRMAN - Be seated, please.
Mr. Rankin, you may examine the witness.
Mr. RANKIN - Sergeant, will you give us your name, your address, please?
Mr. DEAN - Patrick T. Dean. I live at 2822 Nicholson Drive in Dallas.
Mr. RANKIN - Are you connected with the police department in Dallas?
Mr. DEAN - Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN - What is your position?
Mr. DEAN - I am a sergeant on patrol.
Mr. RANKIN - How long have you been an official in the police department?
Mr. DEAN - Eleven and a half years.
Mr. RANKIN - Will you tell us briefly any training or experience you have had?
Mr. DEAN - Well, I worked as a patrolman for 5 years. Then I was promoted to sergeant and remained in the patrol division. I have since been in the patrol division the rest of the time.
Mr. RANKIN - You have given us your deposition, have you not, Sergeant?
Mr. DEAN - Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN - And is that correct and true as far as anything you know?
Mr. DEAN - Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN - Is there any part of it that you want to change or correct or modify?
Mr. DEAN - No, sir; I feel the main reason I wanted to appear before the Commission was about the 20 or 25 minutes that was off the record that I feel I would like the Commission to have on the record, and this is between Mr. Griffin and I. He was the original one who started my deposition.
Mr. RANKIN - Well, do you want to tell that at this time?
First, is there anything about what you said on the record that was not correct?
Mr. DEAN - No, sir.
Mr. RANKIN - And the truth?
Mr. DEAN - No, sir.
Well, Mr. Griffin had questioned me about 2 hours, or maybe a little longer. There was no problems at all, no difficulties. And after that length of time, a little over 2 hours, Mr. Griffin desired to get off the record, and he advised the court reporter that he would be off the record and he could go smoke a cigarette or get a Coke, and he would let him know when he wanted him to get back on the record.
Well, after the court reporter left, Mr. Griffin started talking to me in a manner of gaining my confidence in that he would help me and that he felt I would probably need some help in the future.
My not knowing what he was building up to, I asked Mr. Griffin to go ahead and ask me what he was going to ask me. He continued to advise me that he wanted me to listen to what he had to say before he asked me whatever question he was going to ask me. I finally told him that whatever he wanted to ask me he could just ask me, and if I knew I would tell him the truth or if I didn't know, I would tell him I didn't know.
Mr. Griffin took my reports, one dated February 18, the subject of it was an interview with Jack Ruby, and one dated November 26, which was my assignment in the basement.
He said there were things in these statements which were not true and, in fact, he said both these statements, he said there were particular things in there that were not true, and I asked him what portions did he consider not true, and then very dogmatically he said that, "Jack Ruby didn't tell you that he entered the basement via the Main Street ramp."
And, of course, I was shocked at this. This is what I testified to, in fact, I was cross-examined on this, and he, Mr. Griffin, further said, "Jack Ruby did not tell you that he had thought or planned to kill Oswald two nights prior."
And he said, "Your testimony was false, and these reports to your chief of police are false."
So this, of course, all this was off the record. I told Mr. Griffin then this shocked me, and I told him it shocked me; that I couldn't imagine what he was getting at or why he would accuse me of this, and I asked him, and Mr Griffin replied he didn't or he wasn't at liberty to discuss that particular of it with me, and that he wasn't trying to cross-examine me here, but that under cross- examination he could prove that my testimony was false, and that is when I told Mr. Griffin that these are the facts and I can't change them. This is what I know about it.
I quoted Ruby just about verbatim, and since he didn't believe me, and I was saying they were true, we might as well terminate the interview.
Mr. Griffin then got back on the record, or before he did get back on the record, he said, "Well now, Sergeant Dean, I respect you as a witness, I respect you in your profession, but I have offered my help and assistance, and I again will offer you my assistance, and that I don't feel you will be subjecting yourself to loss of your job," or some words to that effect, "If you will go ahead and tell me the truth about it."
I again told Mr. Griffin that these were the facts and I couldn't change them, so with that we got back on the record.
Mr. RANKIN - Did you ask Mr. Griffin to ever put this part that was off the record on the record?
Mr. DEAN - No, sir; I didn't.
Mr. RANKIN - Why didn't you at that time?
Mr. DEAN - Well, now the discussion was, I said, "Mr. Griffin, I have waived my rights for an attorney, of which I don't feel like I need one." I still don't feel like I need one.
The CHAIRMAN - And you do not need one either Sergeant.
Mr. DEAN - True.
The CHAIRMAN - You will get along all right.
Mr. DEAN - Thank you.
I said, "I have come over here with the idea of giving you all the information that I have." In fact, I had some additional information that I had gotten the night before, and it was a call that I had received from some man in Victoria, Canada, who said he had a reel of movie film that he had taken of the assassination.
I got this man's name, where he called from, had the police department in Victoria check to crisscross the number, and I gave him the name well, all the information as to where the call had originated from, his name, also this man's attorney, he had given me his name, and I told him that the reason the man had called, had called especially for me at the police department, was that he had a reel of movie film that he had taken the day of the assassination and that these or the camera was on the President at the time of the assassination, and he described to me the position as to where he was, which was across and in trajectory of the line of fire, and that he felt that in addition to the assassination that he had gotten the School Book Depository.
I told Mr. Griffin at the time that I had told this man--I can't remember his name, the FBI has gotten it, and at the time I gave it to Mr. Griffin, I told this man on the telephone from Victoria that night that he should send these things, this film, that he said wasn't developed, to the Warren Commission.
He said, that is when he told me that he had contacted his attorney in Victoria and that his attorney's name was Batter, and he spelled it for me, B-a-t-t-e-r, and his attorney had advised him not to send this information to the Warren Commission but to contact someone in Dallas and send it to them.
This man told me that he had read something about my testimony and that he asked me would it be all right for him to send it to me, and I told him, "Yes," and I said I was supposed to go back to the Warren Commission and he could send it to me, and I would make it available for them.
This was just additional information that I told Mr. Griffin that I was---this is an example---- I was there to help them in any way I could.
Mr. RANKIN - Now, the differences in your testimony that Mr. Griffin was discussing with you off the record, you have gone into that in detail on the record, haven't you, in your deposition?
Mr. DEAN - Yes; I believe I have, about how Ruby entered the basement or how he told me how he entered the basement. Also that he had thought two nights prior when he saw Lee Oswald on a showup stand with a sarcastic sneer on his face is when he decided if he got the chance he would kill him. This was the thing that I testified in court about. I was cross-examined in court.
Mr. RANKIN - And you have explained all that in your deposition, haven't you?
Mr. DEAN - I believe so; I am not certain.
Mr. RANKIN - And did he ask you about why you didn't have your--this information about his planning to shoot Oswald the night before, or on the Friday----
Mr. DEAN - Now, are you asking did Mr. Griffin ask me why I didn't----
Mr. RANKIN - Why you didn't put it in your February--in your statement before the February 18 one?
Mr. DEAN - Yes, sir; I believe he did, and I explained to him this wasn't the subject--the subject of that November 26 report was my assignment. I didn't put any of the conversation as to what Mr. Sorrels and I talked to Mr. Ruby about. I did put at the closing paragraph, I think, and I have a copy of it here, that my main concern was how he got into the basement and how long he had been there because I was in charge of the security of the basement.
Mr. RANKIN - So you didn't put it in your prior reports?
Mr. DEAN - No, sir; this was later on. Chief Curry--I think probably it was February 18---and I think I probably wrote it that day, called me to his office and asked me had I heard all the interview of Ruby and Sorrels, and I told him that I did, and he asked me could I remember it pretty well, and I said, "Yes, I believe I can remember most all of it," and that is when Chief Curry told me that, he said, "Well, you are going to have to testify to it because Mr. Sorrels can't because he says he didn't warn Mr. Ruby when he was questioning him.
Well, this was fine with me. I wrote the report. This was February 18.
Mr. RANKIN - Did you tell Mr. Griffin at that time that you thought it was unimportant or had some other reason for not including it?
Mr. DEAN - I believe that I told him that the investigation, the focal point, was as to how he got into the basement. There was an officer, and I knew who the officer was, I assigned him there myself, and I felt this was more of a part of the investigation in which it was investigated--Officer R. E. Vaughan was investigated as to whether or not he let Ruby into the basement or saw him in the basement, and, of course, he was cleared of this. I know of no--the only information I passed on about that was when Jack Ruby told me how he entered. I told my superiors and then they carried it on from there as far as the investigation.
Mr. RANKIN - And about his planning to shoot him prior to the day that----
Mr. DEAN - Now, this wasn't--the only time that I put that in the report was February 18.
Mr. RANKIN - Yes; did you explain to Mr. Griffin in your prior testimony why you didn't put it in?
Mr. DEAN - I believe that I did; I am not sure.
Mr. RANKIN - Do you want to add anything to that, just anything that you wanted, to the Commission?
The CHAIRMAN - Do you recall whether you were asked that specific question or not, Sergeant? May I ask, Mr. Rankin, was he asked that question, and did he answer it?
Mr. RANKIN - I have to look at the record to be sure.
Mr. Chief Justice, in answer to your question, he was asked about what was the first time that he had given this information and if this was the date. He was not asked for any explanation as to why he didn't give it at any earlier time.
The CHAIRMAN - Then we can't blame him if he didn't answer why.
Mr. RANKIN - No; I just wanted to find out if he wanted to add anything at this time that would complete the record.
The CHAIRMAN - Yes; all right.
Mr. DEAN - Well, my main concern has been in some way this got out to the papers. The only thing I told the papers was that I can't give any statement. I said I have no comment, and I feel that the accusation started with my denial because I haven't had an opportunity to deny it. The story came out in the papers and it has been on the radio several times, and, in fact, several times since the original, some weeks or so after the paper learned of it of the so-called rift, as they put it.
They had the one side of it that he accused me of lying. He didn't use the word "lie," he just said, "These are false statements, and when you testified in court you testified falsely." He didn't use the word "lying," and a lot of papers have since then used the word "lying."
I feel like the accusation is a lot stronger than my denial because I haven't denied it. I haven't made any statement at all to press or radio or any news media. I just told them it will have to come from the Warren Commission or some other source.
Mr. RANKIN - What I was asking, Sergeant, was whether there is anything that you would like to tell the Commission or add to your testimony about why it wasn't in the earlier statement prior to February 18 that you haven't already told us.
Mr. DEAN - Well, I don't think I would like if I could, I would like to know why Mr. Griffin had accused me of perjury. Of course, this is something for you people to know, but I just--he wouldn't discuss it with me.

The CHAIRMAN - Well, Sergeant, I want to say to you that, of course, without knowing what your conversation was with Mr. Griffin, I have never talked to Mr. Griffin about this. I didn't know that you had this altercation with him, but I want to say this: That so far as the jurisdiction of this Commission is concerned and its procedures, no member of our staff has a right to tell any witness that he is lying or that he is testifying falsely. That is not his business. It is the business of this Commission to appraise the testimony of all the witnesses, and, at the time you are talking about, and up to the present time, this Commission has never appraised your testimony or fully appraised the testimony of any other witness, and furthermore, I want to say to you that no member of our staff has any power to help or injure any witness.
So, so far as that conversation is concerned, there is nothing that will be binding upon this Commission.
Mr. DEAN - Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN - But, as I say, I don't know what your conversation was with Griffin, but I am just telling you as to what the limitations of the members of our staff are.
Mr. DEAN - Yes, sir; thank you. That is about all I had.
Mr. RANKIN - That is all I have, Mr. Chief Justice.
The CHAIRMAN - Well, thank you, Sergeant, for coming and feeling as you do, I am glad you had the frankness to come and talk to the Commission, and offer to testify concerning it.
Mr. DEAN - Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.
The CHAIRMAN - All right, Sergeant.
Mr. DEAN - Thank you. It is nice to have met you.
Mr. RANKIN - Waggoner, do you want to take the stand for a minute about that conversation?
The CHAIRMAN - You are going to ask the General about it? Have you been sworn?