Just when you thought I would never talk about the Kennedy assassination and the Sixth Floor Museum again, I'm baaack. But, look, I'm only baaack because Robert Groden is baaack, this time with a state district court lawsuit against the city for malicious prosecution.
Groden is the nationally known New York Times best-selling author and expert on the Kennedy assassination who has been ticketed and arrested more than 80 times over many years by city police. The police have busted him repeatedly for lecturing and selling books in Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy was murdered a half century ago, even though city laws at the time specifically allowed selling books there.
At one point the city charged him specifically with selling books in a park without a license. Groden's lawyer, Bradley Kizzia, asked the city if they gave out licenses to sell books in parks. Ummm, no. No such thing. Pretty clever, eh? We're arresting you because you don't have a license, and, no, you can't get a license, because there is no such thing as a license.
Not clever at all, according to the lawsuit filed a few days ago by Kizzia. Just plain old garden-variety "malicious prosecution" -- arresting somebody because he pisses you off, even though you know he's not breaking the law.
Why did this take so long? The events in question took place four years ago. Why would it take Groden this long to decide he was the victim of a malicious prosecution? Kizzia ran it down for me yesterday:
You can't file a malicious prosecution suit, he said, unless you're innocent of the charges. Literally every single ticket and arrest of Groden has been tossed out eventually by the courts after judges figured out there was no law against what Groden was doing. But the city kept appealing, which meant Groden was not officially innocent yet. As long as it was on appeal, Groden couldn't claim malicious prosecution.
Last year the appeals court finally said, "This is crap," not in so many words, and more recently the city grudgingly admitted it had no where else to go with it, finally opening the door to a malicious prosecution action by Groden.
In the meantime a separate federal civil rights suit filed by Groden four years ago has been moping along in the courts. It hasn't produced any definitive ruling so far except that the judge did allow Kizzia to do discovery, which produced a string of very interesting documents. You can read them yourself at the end of the petition below.
We will keep in mind, I am sure, that officials of the Sixth Floor may offer a different interpretation of these documents when they get a chance. But on the face of them the documents do seem to show a deep involvement by the museum in efforts to have Groden bullied out of Dealey Plaza by the police, all of which flies in the face of early denials by Sixth Floor director Nicola Longford of any involvement.
Why would Longford want Groden kicked out of a public place where he was breaking no law? Oh, well, I guess we'll have to wait for her to answer that question in her own way. I suspect it was not her idea. I suspect somebody else told her to get it done.
That's where I'm hoping this will go. Who is it who pulls the strings on everything Kennedy in this town? Who ordered up the crackdown?
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Whenever I write about Groden, I always get comments from people, who probably think they are conservative, saying that they don't like the look of Groden's sale booth in the plaza and they don't give a shit, they want it gone whatever it takes. I guess that's a conservative position, if we think of Joe Stalin as a conservative.
I don't think so. To me, Groden is the conservative, fighting for the preservation of basic freedoms, and Kizzia ... I have no idea what Kizzia is except a very good lawyer. Together they are fighting the good fight against someone, we know not yet who, who has ruled over this entire sordid scenario with arrogance and disregard for the basic rights of others. I hope this thing doesn't settle before we get a good mug shot.