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Interview with H.B. McLain
By Seamus Coogan
In 1963, H.B. McLain was a veteran motorcycle cop on the Dallas police force, who on November 22 found himself assigned to President Kennedy's motorcade.
Officer McLain did not appear before the Warren Commission. But when the House Select Committee on Assassinations re-investigated the case in the 1970s, McLain's activities in 1963 got renewed attention. The Committee identified McLain as the officer whose police radio was stuck in the "on" position during the assassination, resulting in an audio recording of police transmissions that acoustics experts said included four gunshots. This evidence was central to the Committee's conclusion that there had been a conspiracy.
Those acoustics findings have since been disputed, although a 2000 study tends to support them.
It is not the purpose of this article to re-examine the issues related to the acoustics evidence. Rather, we present an excerpt from a videotaped interview with McLain, in which the by-then retired officer addresses, for the first time, certain issues related to the assassination.
The interview was conducted at the JFK November in Dallas conference in 2006.
Officer McLain told the HSCA he only heard one shot.
* * *
H.B. McLain: My thought was, when I heard the shot, and all them pigeons flew out from behind that building, I just said to myself, "Wow, somebody's shooting at the pigeons today." It didn't even dawn on me that they were shooting at him.
We took him to Parkland. We got her out of the car, and they carried him in. I walked her inside Parkland. I turned around and come back outside.
Seamus: Do you believe in the Warren Commission's official version, or do you think something else may have happened?
H.B. McLain: I don't think they knew what they were even talking about.
Seamus: So I don't need to ask any more questions?
(I said this because I was fearful of pushing a little too hard. I really felt for the guy, but what I got next was kinda like an explosion).
H.B. McLain: They did not investigate any thing. They told you what happened and that's the way they wrote it down
Seamus: And it doesn't concur with what you believe happened?
H.B. McLain: (looking down at his feet) Nope...and it didn't concur with what did happen!
Seamus: And it may lead people to say that you believe in a conspiracy ... a possible conspiracy.
H.B. McLain: (Looks away to his left.) ...Well, I think there was.
Seamus: Is that the first time you've ever been asked that question?
H.B. McLain: (Begins smiling.) Nope. It's just the first time I've ever answered it.
Seamus: Shit, that's pretty heavy.
(H.B. McLain starts to laugh at my shock as if a weight has just come off of his shoulders. The transformation was amazing from the man we first saw that evening. I think from how he spoke that he was scared to talk for an extremely long time. I think he saw what happened to Jesse Curry and Roger Craig for speaking their minds..)