ACQUILLA CLEMONS AND THE
MURDER OF OFFICER J.D. TIPPIT




DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

On November 1, 2017, JFK assassination author and researcher Dale K. Myers posted this article on his blog, which once again cuts the legs out from under the conspiracy theorists who continue to insist that policeman J.D. Tippit was killed by someone other than just Lee Harvey Oswald in the Dallas suburb of Oak Cliff shortly after President Kennedy was assassinated.

In his 11/1/17 article (excerpted below), Dale Myers discusses some major pieces of evidence connected with the murder of Officer Tippit, including a very revealing transcript of an interview with Mrs. Acquilla Clemons, who was a witness to the aftermath of the Tippit shooting near the corner of Tenth Street and Patton Avenue in Oak Cliff on 11/22/63.

That tape-recorded interview with Clemons was conducted by Shirley Martin in July of 1964, eight months after the JFK and Tippit murders. And it's an interview that should make conspiracy theorists (especially all of Mark Lane's supporters) think twice before they ever again try to prop up Mrs. Clemons as a person who witnessed a conspiracy in progress in Oak Cliff on November 22, 1963. Because after reading all of Mr. Myers' excellent 11/1/17 blog article, there can be no doubt about the following two facts:

1.) Mrs. Acquilla Clemons, when her statements are not edited and trimmed and molded by conspiracy theorists such as the late Mark Lane, definitely was NOT the type of bombshell "conspiracy" witness that she has been portrayed to be by conspiracists for the last fifty-plus years.

2.) Mark Lane was a deceitful, unscrupulous, and manipulative person with respect to the observations of witness Acquilla Clemons.


——— QUOTING FROM DALE MYERS' ARTICLE: ———


“In mid-July, 1964...Oklahoma housewife-turned-sleuth Shirley Martin traveled to Dallas and interviewed Mrs. Clemons on the front porch of her place of employment, 327 E. Tenth Street—the same house in Oak Cliff where she witnessed the Tippit shooting aftermath. This time, the interview was secretly tape-recorded by Shirley’s daughter Victoria, and the tape passed on to Mark Lane.

[...]

Shirley Martin’s tape-recorded interview has been absent from the public debate for more than five decades. But now, a transcript, courtesy of assassination researcher John Kelin, has come to light.

[...]

CLEMONS: They don’t allow me to say anything. I’m not allowed to say anything.

The persons referred to as “they” is not explained – yet. Mrs. Martin digs deeper, looking for the sinister forces she believes are behind Oswald’s frameup.

MARTIN: Who’s that? You mean the Dallas police?

CLEMONS: Some of them. I don’t know. I don’t know one of them from the other.

MARTIN: From the Government?

CLEMONS: I guess it was. I don’t know who.

MARTIN: From Washington?

CLEMONS: Somebody.


Somebody??? Mrs. Martin is practically handing Mrs. Clemons a villain – any villain – yet she bats each suggestion away like a foul-ball hitter. Finally, what I believe is the real truth tumbles out.

CLEMONS: But see, I take care of an ill man here. And she don’t want me in anything because it would upset him. She’s awful fond of me...

This is the first ah-hah moment – one that has been hidden from public scrutiny for better than fifty years Here, for the first time, we have Mrs. Clemons explaining that it’s not a cadre of faceless, nameless law enforcement officers harassing her to keep quiet (as everyone has been led to believe by Mark Lane and the conspirati), but rather, a strong suggestion by her employers – John and Cornelia Smotherman – who are no doubt sick and tired of the parade of “journalists” (remember, this is the third visit in as many weeks) who keep showing up at her home.

The Smothermans lived in the home at 327 E. Tenth in Oak Cliff. John died there in December, 1966, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. His wife, Cornelia, died in 1985.

Later in the interview, Mrs. Clemons made it crystal clear that Cornelia Smotherman didn’t want her talking to anyone about the Tippit shooting.

MARTIN: And no one...someone has come to you since those people came and told you not to give anything to the newspapers...well, I’m not with the newspapers.

CLEMONS: I’m just not allowed to tell you. I can’t tell you nothing. I don’t know nothing.

MARTIN: And have you been to the Warren Commission? In Washington?

CLEMONS: No, ma’am.

MARTIN: No? Did they come and take a statement from you or anything?

CLEMONS: No. I wouldn’t give none, ‘cause I’m not allowed to tell nothing. Lady I work for, she don’t want me…

MARTIN: Involved?

CLEMONS: No, she don’t. I can’t be involved ‘cause she’s not well either.


And later still, the fact that Cornelia Smotherman didn’t want Mrs. Clemons talking to anyone came up again:

CLEMONS: Well, I just wouldn’t want you to mention anything I’ve said. The lady I work for here… things would go hard for me with her… what I mean, I don’t want you to mention talking to me because I would get into trouble… I’m not allowed to talk to anybody but I just wanted to tell you that don’t be mentioning me because this lady here, I’d probably lose my job.

So, again – the cops aren’t pressuring Mrs. Clemons to keep quiet. Her employers, John and Cornelia Smotherman, are the ones telling her to keep still. The real question is: Why has this exchange been literally excised from every account of the Acquilla Clemons story to date?

[...]

It’s worth remembering that Shirley Martin’s interview of Mrs. Clemons was conducted approximately four months after Tippit witness Warren Reynolds was shot by an unknown assailant. Rumors were rampant that Reynolds was shot because of his pursuit of Tippit’s killer, a rumor that Mark Lane was eagerly promoting in his lectures, although Dallas police believed that the two events were not connected.

Mrs. Clemons did give more details about her “police” visitor during a filmed interview with Mark Lane on March 23, 1966. Not surprisingly, most of these details were cut from the film. Here’s the exchange from an unedited transcript of the Lane interview:

LANE: Did anyone come and see you after the murder of Officer Tippit?

CLEMONS: Yes, there was a man came with some cameras and talked to me and I wouldn’t talk to him and [he] left away.
(emphasis added)

Mrs. Clemons’ response wasn’t what Lane was hoping for, so he tried again.

LANE: Yes. Did a police officer come to visit you after Officer Tippit was killed?

CLEMONS: I don’t know what he was. He came to my house and talked to me, but I don’t know what he – looked like a policeman to me.

LANE: He did? Did he have a gun?

CLEMONS: Yes, he wore a gun.

LANE: And did he say anything to you?

CLEMONS: He just told me, uh, it’d be the best if I didn’t say anything because I might get hurt.

LANE: It’d be best if you didn’t say anything about –

CLEMONS: Uh-huh… I haven’t said anything –

LANE: Did he tell you it would be best if you didn’t say anything about seeing Officer Tippit killed or see the man with the gun?

CLEMONS: No, no – he just said it would be best if I didn’t say I seen anything.

LANE: I see. And, did he say he was from the Police Department?

CLEMONS: He didn’t say; I didn’t ask him.


Uh-oh! Mrs. Clemons’ answers didn’t quite fit the narrative that Mark Lane was attempting to build – one in which the Dallas police were threatening her to keep quiet about what she saw on Tenth Street, a charge Lane had already made – so he tried again.

Take Two:

LANE: Did a man come and talk with you?

CLEMONS: A man came to talk with me and told me it would be best for me to don’t talk. And I didn’t say anything to him that I would or – what I wouldn’t –

LANE: Did he tell you what might happen if you did talk?

CLEMONS: ‘Said that I might get hurt – or someone might hurt me if I would talk.

LANE: About what you saw?

CLEMONS: - what I saw.

LANE: Mrs. Clemons, how long after Tippit was shot did this man with the gun come to visit you?

CLEMONS: Uh – ‘bout two days. It was about two days.


So, to recap in a slightly more coherent manner, Mrs. Clemons tells Shirley Martin and Mark Lane that about two days after the Tippit shooting – Sunday or Monday, November 24-25, 1963 – a man wearing blue-looking clothes (but not a uniform), carrying cameras and wearing a gun, came to her home (she never explains how the man knew where she lived) and without identifying himself (she assumes he’s a policeman) asks to speak to her. She refuses to talk to him and he leaves, but not before he tells her that it would be best if she didn’t say anything because she might get hurt.

And let’s not forget, that Mrs. Clemons initially told George and Patricia Nash a few weeks before Shirley Martin’s tape-recorded interview that the male visitor was from the FBI and that the agent only talked to her briefly but decided not to take a statement “because of her poor physical description,” she being a diabetic.

As I’ve already pointed out, the FBI denied that they had made contact with Mrs. Clemons at any time in their investigation, would not have done so given that the Tippit shooting was a local matter, and (apparently, unbeknownst to Mrs. Clemons) even if the FBI had broken protocol and contacted her, there would still be a report of that contact.

We might not be discussing the Acquilla Clemons story today had her vague and rambling version been published at the time (though to be fair, the Nashes did warn us about Mrs. Clemons’ reliability). Instead, here’s what we got, courtesy of Mark Lane and Emile de Antonio’s careful editing of their filmed interview of Clemons as it appeared in the final cut of the documentary, Rush to Judgment:

[Note that each camera CUT (designated in brackets) is an opportunity to edit the dialogue.]

LANE: Did anyone come to see you after the murder of Officer Tippit?

CLEMONS: Yes, he was a man, came, [CUT-A-WAY to LANE] I don’t know what he was. He came to my house [CUT to close-up of CLEMONS] and talked to me, but I don’t know what he – looked like a policeman to me.

LANE: He did? Did he have a gun?

CLEMONS: Yes, he wore a gun.

[CUT to LANE, pan right to CLEMONS]

LANE: Mrs. Clemons, how long after Tippit was shot did this man with a gun come to visit you?

CLEMONS: About two – about two days. [CUT to LANE] It was about two days, said that I might get hurt, [CUT to medium shot of CLEMONS] someone might hurt me, if I would talk.

LANE: About what you saw?

CLEMONS: What I saw. [CUT to close-up of CLEMONS] He just told me to, be best if I didn’t say [“Mrs. Acquilla Clemons” TEXT REMOVED] anything because I might get hurt.


Regardless of Lane’s creative editing, it’s difficult to imagine that any law enforcement officer would have warned or threatened Mrs. Clemons with injury or death because of what she had seen – especially given the fact that she hadn’t really seen anything of consequence.

What Mrs. Clemons saw....

You’ll recall that according to Mark Lane, Acquilla Clemons watched Tippit drive up upon two men conversing across the street from each other. Officer Tippit stopped his car, got out, and approached one of the men who pulled a gun and shot him. The shooter then waved the other man off and the two fled in opposite directions. Lane supposedly obtained all of this from Martin’s interview of Clemons.

But, according to the transcript, that’s not what Mrs. Clemons told Shirley Martin.

According to Mrs. Clemons, she was watching news of the Kennedy assassination on television. She grew tired and came out onto the front porch and sat down. A tow truck was hauling a wrecked car away from the corner of Tenth and Patton. The wreck was the result of an earlier accident in which a motorist, heading south on Patton, had gone off the road, knocked over the stop sign on the southeast corner, crossed the sidewalk, plowed through the bushes, and struck the porch of the corner house at 400 E. Tenth.

This was the same house occupied by Barbara Jeanette and Virginia Davis – the eyewitnesses who saw Oswald cut across their lawn while fleeing the Tippit shooting scene. Police photographed the stop sign as part of the Tippit shooting investigation, but later determined that the two events weren’t connected.

It is not clear from the transcript whether Mrs. Clemons returned to the interior of her employer’s home or was still sitting on the front porch, however, a short time after the tow truck left with the wrecked car, the shooting of police officer [Tippit] unfolded.

Contrary to Mark Lane’s version of events, Mrs. Clemons did not see the shooting. She said she heard three shots.

CLEMONS: I thought it was firecrackers. I wasn’t paying any attention.

Mrs. Clemons ran out onto the front lawn of the Smotherman residence, located two houses west of Tenth and Patton on the north side of Tenth Street. She stopped near the sidewalk and looked eastward toward Patton.

Helen Markham was screaming and, according to Mrs. Clemons, told her to “look at the man” who had just shot the policeman.

It’s doubtful that Markham even knew Clemons was there, given that she was behind Markham’s position. According to Barbara Jeanette Davis, Mrs. Markham was pointing at Oswald and screaming, “He shot him! He shot him! He killed him!”

Mrs. Clemons looked diagonally across the street, toward where Mrs. Markham was pointing, and saw a man cutting across the corner lot at 400 E. Tenth as he unloaded and reloaded his gun.

CLEMONS: He went across that lot there, that’s all I know. He went across that lot, I don’t know which way… I don’t know which way he went after I seen him unloading and loading his gun. That’s all I seen. I was afraid. He frightened me. To come out and see him unloading his gun and reload it. But, I didn’t pay no attention [to what he was wearing]. I just tried to get out of the way, because I thought he was going to shoot me...and I didn’t pay him any mind. I was getting out of the way. ... See, I was pretty close to him. [He was] between that telegram (sic) post and that tree, loading his gun... And I was on this side of the walk standing right there and I didn’t want him to be shooting me.

[...]

Mrs. Martin asked Acquilla Clemons what happened to the man standing across the street after the gunman ran off.

MARTIN: The other one went up that… Patton?

CLEMONS: Yeah. He went up [unintelligible]. He may have been just a boy getting out of the way. [emphasis added]

MARTIN: Scared maybe.

CLEMONS: Yeah. Probably somebody he told to get out of his way or something...


Here, too, is another ah-hah moment – a sharp, left-turn off the path that we were led down fifty-three years ago.

It is quite clear from the above exchange, that Mrs. Clemons didn’t think the man standing across the street from the gunman was an accomplice – as has been presented as a matter-of-fact by Mark Lane and virtually every person seeking to exonerate Oswald for the Tippit murder – but rather, that Mrs. Clemons thought the man might have been simply another eyewitness who, like her, ran away from the gunman in fear of losing his life.

In her 1966 filmed interview with Mark Lane, Mrs. Clemons reiterated what she told Shirley Martin about the two men, though you wouldn’t know that from the final cut of the film. First, here’s the unedited transcript:

LANE: And was there any other man there?

CLEMONS: Yes, there was one on the other side of the street, but I don’t know what is with him, or not. All I know, he told him to go on.


Mrs. Clemons’ reply doesn’t make much sense as transcribed. It seems more likely, especially given what she told Shirley Martin, that what she meant to say is that “I don’t know whether he (the man across the street) was with him (the gunman), or not.” In any event, her reply didn’t fit the story Lane wanted to tell. He tried again.

LANE: Now, you saw this man on the other side of the street –

CLEMONS: Uh-huh.

LANE: And did the man with the gun talk to the man on the other side of the street. (emphasis in original)

CLEMONS: I couldn’t tell.


Again, Mrs. Clemons tells Lane the same thing she told Shirley Martin – she couldn’t tell if the two men shared words. Lane tried again:

LANE: Did he motion to him?

CLEMONS: He just looked at him and went on.


Once again, according to Mrs. Clemons, there is no exchange of dialogue between the two men – just brief eye contact, and then they run in opposite directions. Lane tries again to paint a picture of two accomplices on Tenth Street:

LANE: Mrs. Clemons – er – the man who had the gun – uh – did he make any motion at all to the other man across the street?

CLEMONS: No more’n told him to go on.

LANE: Well, he waved his hand and said, “Go on.”


Actually, Mrs. Clemons had just said that she couldn’t tell if words were exchanged. No matter, Lane simply put the words he wanted to hear into Mrs. Clemons’ mouth and she then dutifully repeated them:

CLEMONS: Yes, said, “Go on.”

LANE: And then what happened with the man with the gun?

CLEMONS: Er – he unloaded and reloaded.

LANE: And what did the other man do?

CLEMONS: Man kept going – straight down the street.

LANE: And then did they go in opposite directions?

CLEMONS: Yes, they were – they weren’t together, they went this way from each other – the one done the shooting went this way; other went straight down Tenth Street that way.


After some careful editing, Lane had his accomplice. Here’s Acquilla Clemons’ statement about the two men as it appears in the final cut of the film, Rush to Judgment:

[Note that each camera CUT (designated in brackets) is an opportunity to edit the dialogue.]

LANE: And was there any other man there?

CLEMONS: Yes, there was one on the other side of the street. [DISSOLVE CUT] All I know is he told him to go on.

[CUT to medium shot of CLEMONS.]

LANE: Mrs. Clemons, the man who had the gun, did he make any motion at all to the other man across the street?

CLEMONS: No more - told him to go on. [indicating with a dismissive gesture using her right arm]

LANE: Oh, he waved his hand and said, “Go on?”

CLEMONS: Yeah, said, “Go on.” [indicating again with a dismissive gesture using her right arm]

LANE: And then what happened with the man with the gun?

CLEMONS: He unloaded it and reloaded it.

LANE: And what did the other man do?

CLEMONS: The man kept going, straight down the street.

LANE: And then did they go in opposite directions?

CLEMONS: Yes, they were – they – they weren’t together, they went this way from each other. [indicating with arms moving wide apart] The one done the shooting went this way [indicating with her right arm that the gunman was moving directly away from her, south on Patton], the other one went straight down Tenth Street, that way [indicating with her left arm that the second man was moving away from her to her left, east along the north side of Tenth Street].


Once again, Mark Lane manipulates the Acquilla Clemons story – turning what Clemons herself thought was probably another eyewitness running for his life, into an accomplice in the Tippit shooting.


MARK LANE'S 1966 INTERVIEW
WITH ACQUILLA CLEMONS:



There is corroborating testimony for Mrs. Clemons' observation that places a man [Frank Cimino] across the street from Tippit’s police car shortly after the shooting.

[...]

We know from a multitude of cross-matching testimony, that as the two men ran off, Mrs. Helen Markham ran toward Officer Tippit’s body. What isn’t widely known is that Acquilla Clemons followed her.

CLEMONS: ...[Mrs. Markham] runned [sic] in front of me and I went down there when – when I went down there, there wasn’t anybody there but her. I guess she was there. I don’t know. It was all excitement... (emphasis in original)

[...]

If you strip away all the malarkey and manipulation that’s been added to the Acquilla Clemons story, one single cohesive picture begins to emerge. The minor details that she brings to the table about the murder on Tenth Street only support that which we already know to be true based on physical evidence and the testimony of a myriad of other witnesses – and that truth is that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered J. D. Tippit.

When it comes to the malicious distortion of the truth for personal and ideological gain, few in the history of the assassination story have managed to crawl as low as Mark Lane.

Heralded by a generation unwilling to confront his deceptions, dishonesty, and repeated cover-ups, Lane’s handling of the Acquilla Clemons story should serve as the primary exhibit of what lengths dedicated propagandists are willing to go to twist the simple, uncomplicated truth into a pack of fables that serve their own deceitful ends.

As with most lies, the truth can be found in the dirty little details.”


——— END QUOTES FROM MYERS' ARTICLE ———


Read the complete article here:



Thank you, Dale Myers, for once again providing important and relevant facts concerning the events of 11/22/63. Your work continues to dismantle many persistent speculative conspiracy theories and continues to strip bare the ever-deteriorating notion that there was any conspiracy at all connected with the murders of John F. Kennedy and J.D. Tippit.

David Von Pein
November 1, 2017


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THE TIPPIT MURDER SCENE: