Saturday, 13 September 2014

A few words on former DPD Captain, William Ralph Westbrook

In my essay entitled Gerald Hill and the Framing of Lee Harvey Oswald (which can be read here), I wrote the following with regards to Captain Westbrook:

“This writer should point out that several researchers, such as Ian Griggs, have argued that Westbrook may also have been involved in President Kennedy’s assassination. If this was the case, then it stands to reason that he was also involved in framing Oswald for Tippit’s murder; and may have lied in his report [to DPD chief Jesse Curry] that [detective Bob] Carroll stated that he had the gun in order to help conceal the fact that it was actually Hill who said he had the gun. What’s intriguing is that Hill told the FBI that he had transferred to the personnel bureau of the DPD (which was under Westbrook’s command) in October, 1963, the same month in which Oswald obtained his employment at the TSBD (WCD 4, page 308). Although this may be nothing more than a coincidence, it is nevertheless intriguing.”

But contrary to what I wrote, the more I think about it, the more I believe that it was not a coincidence, and that Westbrook was indeed lying when he wrote in his report that Carroll said that he had the gun in order to conceal the fact that it was Hill who said that he had the gun. What particularly interests me about Westbrook is that as author Larry Sneed writes in his book; following his retirement from the DPD in 1966, Westbrook served as a Police advisor in South Vietnam (Sneed, No More Silence, page 325). Many researchers such as Jim DiEugenio have pointed out that President Kennedy’s intention was to withdraw all U.S. military personnel from the Vietnam War by the end of 1965. However, following President Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson drastically escalated U.S. involvement in the War. As most researchers of the assassination are probably aware, on October 11, 1963, President Kennedy authorised the removal of 1,000 U.S. military personnel from South Vietnam by the end of 1963 (see here). This was a mere five days before Oswald obtained his job as an order-filler at the TSBD.

As researcher Greg Parker has pointed out on his research forum, Westbrook’s role as a Police advisor in South Vietnam meant that he was working for the U.S.A.I.D. (United States Agency for International Development); which therefore meant that he was working for the CIA (see here). Many researchers (including myself) believe that not only was the CIA involved in the assassination, but that the escalation of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was a motive for the assassination. If this truly was the case, then it stands to reason that Westbrook may have been involved in the assassination. Let’s now look at the issue of Hill’s transfer to the personnel Bureau of the DPD in October, 1963. When Hill testified before the Warren Commission, he claimed that on the day of the assassination he was “…on special assignment, detached from the Police patrol division, and assigned to the Police personnel office investigating applicants for the Police department” (WC Volume VII, page 44).    

As I more or less stated above, I no longer believe that it was just a coincidence that Hill transferred to the personnel Bureau in the same month in which Oswald obtained his job at the TSBD. Although it is certainly not my contention that the entire personnel Bureau of the DPD was involved in the assassination, it is nevertheless my belief that Hill was transferred (most likely by Westbrook) to the personnel Bureau, so that he and Westbrook could discuss any planning for the assassination without having to do so in public or by telephone where they could be overheard. It is entirely possible that Hill admitted to the FBI that he had transferred to the personnel Bureau in October, 1963, because he didn’t realise/believe that this would bring him under suspicion. This could also explain why Hill didn’t hesitate to tell the Warren Commission that he was on a “special assignment” with the personnel Bureau. It is also curious that the DPD personnel assignments booklet for November, 1963, lists Hill as being in the Patrol division (WC Volume XIX, Batchelor Exhibit No. 5002, page 124).

Regarding the issue of whether Westbrook was lying when he wrote in his report concerning Oswald’s arrest to chief Curry that Bob Carroll said that he had the gun inside the Texas Theater, the reader should bear in mind that the only three Officers who signed the original arrest report which Hill wrote on Oswald’s arrest were Hill, Carroll, and Westbrook (WCD 87, page 197). In his report, Hill wrote that “Officer [Nick] McDonald, Detective Carroll and Sergeant Hill handled [Oswald’s] gun, in that order…” (ibid). Although I wrote in my essay on Hill that Hill had coerced Carroll into claiming that he had given the revolver (WCE 143) to him (Hill) inside the car which escorted Oswald to DPD headquarters following his arrest, it is now my belief that it was in fact Westbrook who had coerced Carroll into claiming that he had given the gun to Hill. In fact, given all of the contradictions between the statements of Hill and Carroll concerning when Carroll allegedly gave him the gun; and what Carroll allegedly said to Hill when he allegedly gave the gun to him, it makes more sense to me that it was actually Westbrook who had coerced Carroll into claiming that he had given the gun to Hill.

Let’s also take the following into account. On December 12, 1963, Captain Westbrook wrote the following in a report to Chief Curry: “A membership card to [Jack Ruby’s] Carousel Club, listed in the name of [Officer] Ray Hawkins, business address City Hall, signed by Ray Hawkins, is attached to this report.” Westbrook went on to explain that “This card was discussed with Officer Hawkins and he stated that he had been to the Carousel Club two or three times and on one occasion Jack Ruby told him that he was going to give him a permanent pass, and that he would sign a card, but had not received the pass” (see here). On November 24, 1963, DPD detective Gus Rose provided the FBI with numerous items which were reportedly removed from Jack Ruby’s car following his arrest for Oswald’s murder. Amongst the items was a permanent pass card to Ruby’s club under Hawkins’ name (WCE 1322).

As far as I’m aware, there is no verification by Hawkins (in any report or interview) for what Westbrook wrote in his report to Chief Curry. According to researcher Mary Ferrell, Hawkins was Ruby’s friend and his name was inside Larry Crafard’s notebook which contained a list of Ruby’s contacts. But contrary to this claim, Hawkins’ name does not appear inside the notebook (WCD 4, pages 495 to 504), (WCD 717). Although I’m not aware of which DPD Officers had membership/permanent pass cards to Ruby’s Carousel club, as many researchers have pointed out, Ruby was acquainted with a large number of DPD Officers such as Sgt. Patrick Dean and William J. “Blackie” Harrison. With that in mind, it is highly unlikely that Hawkins was the only DPD Officer who had a permanent pass card to Ruby’s club, and that Westbrook would only report to Chief Curry that Hawkins had a membership card to Ruby’s club listed under his name. I should point out that a permanent pass card under the name “John D. Bailey, City Hall” was evidently found in Ruby’s car (WCE 1322). However, Bailey’s name is not listed in the aforementioned DPD personnel assignments booklet for November, 1963, as either an Officer or clerk. 

Did Westbrook have a reason for singling Hawkins out and reporting the above information to Chief Curry? The reader should keep in mind that as discussed in my essay on Hill, it was Hawkins who claimed in his own report to Chief Curry concerning Oswald’s arrest that Hill “took the gun” inside the Theater during the scuffle with Oswald, and then subsequently told the Warren Commission that Hill said “I’ve got the gun” during same. Although Hawkins’ typed report to Curry is dated December 2, 1963, when asked by Warren Commission counsel Joseph Ball what he did subsequent to Oswald’s arrest, he stated that he “…went to the personnel bureau and made a statement, or wrote a report on [Oswald’s] arrest, and that was the last thing I had done,” thus implying that he wrote his report out on the day of the assassination (WC Volume VII, page 95).

If this was the case, then perhaps someone else had typed a copy of it out on December 2, 1963. Suffice it to say, if Westbrook had learned that Hawkins claimed that Hill said that he (Hill) had the gun during the scuffle inside the Theater, then perhaps he wrote the aforementioned report to Curry in order to embarrass Hawkins and to make him appear untrustworthy. Whilst other researchers may think that this was merely a coincidence, I honestly don’t believe it was. If it was indeed Westbrook’s intention to embarrass Hawkins and to make him appear untrustworthy by writing the aforementioned report to Curry, then it stands to reason that he may have also forged Hawkins’ name and signature onto the permanent pass card which was allegedly found in Ruby’s car.

Let’s now take the following into consideration. In my essay, I wrote the following with regards to Officer Thomas Alexander Hutson: “Whilst one might think that Hill had misremembered that Hutson told him that Oswald said ‘This is it,’ when we take into account all of the demonstrable lies told by Hill; and all of the evidence which indicates that he framed Oswald, it should be apparent that Hill was also lying when he claimed that he thought Hutson said Oswald yelled ‘This is it.’ Still, it is intriguing that Hill claimed that he thought Hutson stated that Oswald said ‘This is it.’ It is also intriguing that Hutson told the Warren Commission that after Oswald was disarmed ‘…Sgt. Jerry Hill came up and assisted as we were handcuffing [Oswald]’ (WC Volume VII, page 33). This raises the possibility that Hutson himself may have been involved in framing Oswald.” However, there may also be another explanation for why Hutson made this claim when he testified before the Warren Commission.

As most researchers of the assassination are probably aware, Oswald allegedly discarded a light gray zipper jacket (designated as WCE 162) in the parking lot behind the Texaco service station on Jefferson Blvd., after he allegedly shot Tippit (WC report, page 175). Although the Warren Commission credited the discovery of the jacket to Westbrook, he had in fact stated during his testimony before the Warren Commission on April 6, 1964, that he did not find it. According to Westbrook; “…[the jacket] was pointed out to me by either some officer that – that was while we were going over the scene in the close area where the shooting was concerned, someone pointed out a jacket to me that was laying under a car and I got the jacket and told the officer to take the license number”  (WC Volume VII, pages 115). Further on during his testimony, Westbrook explained “…some officer, I feel sure it was an officer, I still can’t be positive – pointed [the] jacket out to me and it was laying slightly under the rear of one of the cars” (ibid, page 117).

When Hutson testified before the Warren Commission on April 3, 1964, he claimed that; “Captain Westbrook was there behind the house with us, and he was there at the time [the jacket] was picked up with the man, but I don’t know who had it in their hands” (ibid, page 33). But despite what both Westbrook and Hutson told the Warren Commission, there is good reason to believe that they were both lying. As we have already seen, Westbrook wasn’t even sure if the person who had allegedly pointed the jacket out to him was an Officer. Secondly, we should keep in mind that Westbrook testified that he walked through the parking lot where the jacket was found after the false alarm that Tippit’s killer was at the Jefferson Branch Library (ibid, page 115).

Westbrook also implied that this was the case during his interview with HSCA investigator Jack Moriarty in June, 1978 (see here, page 4). The significance of this claim is that according to the transcripts of the DPD radio communications, Officer Charles Walker reported that he had seen the suspect run into the Library approximately ten minutes after the discovery of the jacket had been reported over the DPD radio by an unidentified Officer (WC Volume XXI, Sawyer Exhibit No. A), (WCE 705/1974). In order to believe both Westbrook and Hutson, we must believe the absurd notion that after the jacket had been discovered, it had either been left on the ground for over ten minutes when Westbrook reported over the radio “We got a witness that saw [Tippit’s killer] go up North Jefferson and he shed his jacket – let’s check that vicinity, towards Tyler” or that after it had been picked-up from the ground and examined for identification, it was then, for some bizarre reason, placed back onto the ground! (WCE 1974). It is apparent to me that both Westbrook and Hutson were lying, and that Westbrook had likely coerced Hutson into claiming that he (Westbrook) was at the parking lot when the jacket was picked-up.

With this in mind, it also seems likely that Westbrook had coerced Hutson into testifying that Hill “came up and assisted” with handcuffing Oswald after Oswald had been allegedly disarmed during the scuffle in the Theater. Whilst some might believe that what I have discussed throughout this essay concerning Westbrook and Hill, Westbrook and the Vietnam War etc. was all just a coincidence, I believe the odds are against this being the case. Although Westbrook comes across to me as being an incompetent Officer during his testimony, I believe he was only pretending to be incompetent so that the Warren Commission wouldn’t suspect that he was involved in Tippit’s murder and the President’s assassination. Others such as author Ian Griggs believe that Westbrook’s presence at Dealey Plaza, the Tippit murder scene, and the Texas Theater are suspicious (Griggs, No Case to Answer, page 140). However, given the magnitude of the President’s assassination and the fact that one of his fellow Officers had been killed, I don’t believe that it’s necessarily suspicious that Westbrook would be at all of these locations.

On a final note, there is one other issue I would like to discuss. Towards the end of my essay on Hill, I discussed the fact that Hill told the Warren Commission that it was Westbrook who informed him that Oswald had admitted to being a communist. Although I certainly don’t trust Hill, taking into consideration the likelihood that Hill and Westbrook were involved in framing Oswald for Tippit’s murder, I believe it is entirely feasible that Hill said that Westbrook told him this because after discussing it with Westbrook, he knew that Westbrook would verify that he did tell him this, even though (as I believe was the case) he didn’t. Suffice it to say, there is good reason to believe that both Hill and Westbrook were involved in the President’s assassination, and that they were both involved in framing Oswald for Tippit’s murder.

My appreciation goes out to researcher Jim DiEugenio for taking the time to proof read this essay prior to it being published on my blog. 

Addendum (posted December 30, 2014):

Just recently, I came across an interview of Officer Ray Hawkins by the FBI on December 16, 1963. In that interview, Hawkins claimed that he was given a Carousel Club pass card by Jack Ruby (see here). But despite Hawkins’ admission to the FBI, it is nevertheless curious that Captain Westbrook (as far as this writer is aware) never bothered to inform chief Curry that other officers were also promised/given permanent pass cards to Ruby’s Carousel Club. I would also like to apologise to the readers of my essay for not having come across Hawkins’ interview sooner.

Addendum # 2 (posted April 16, 2015):

Over at Greg Parker’s research forum, researcher Ed LeDoux has recently brought to my attention the fact that officer Ray Hawkins’ name was inside the spiral notepad dubbed “Exhibit No. 52251 – Crafard, C.L.” (See here). My appreciation goes out to Ed for pointing this out to me.

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