- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2002

DALLAS Jim Leavelle may be the most recognizable Dallas cop in history.
Soon, two Dallas museums will display the Western-style hat and the suit he wore when the aftermath of President Kennedy's assassination thrust him into the public's eye.
Mr. Leavelle was the square-jawed detective handcuffed to Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald when Jack Ruby broke through a cadre of newsmen and cops to kill Oswald in the basement of Dallas police headquarters on Nov. 24, 1963.
Dressed in a light suit with a Resistol hat and a stern though shocked countenance, he seemed the stereotypical Texas lawman when that photo graced almost every daily newspaper in the world.
The picture, with Oswald grimacing in pain and Mr. Leavelle pulling the victim slightly toward him, became a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo by Bob Jackson of the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald.
Over the years, many have sought to buy the suit and hat Mr. Leavelle was wearing even the handcuffs that bound him to Oswald.
But though he has been gracious with his time and remembrances, Mr. Leavelle, now 82, has refused to capitalize on that day.
He wore that same suit for years one of three he owned and then hung it in his closet in his modest home in a Dallas suburb.
Mr. Leavelle said he thought it better to allow the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (where Oswald lurked in the window that fateful day) to display the items.
"A collector would get them and just put them away somewhere," said Mr. Leavelle. "This will give people a chance to see them. There's been so much interest."
Mr. Jackson's award-winning photo seemed to indicate Mr. Leavelle was shocked and pulling backward as Ruby lunged forward.
"I knew what was happening," said the ex-cop. "I thought to myself: He's going to be shot and there's nothing I can do about it."
He said he was trying to pull Oswald away from his attacker.
"All I did was pull him around so Ruby shot him in the side," he recalled.
After Mr. Leavelle retired at the Dallas Police Department in 1976, he operated a private polygraph and investigative company until 1985.
Many have asked him what Oswald said before he lapsed into unconsciousness and the soft-spoken Mr. Leavelle not one to embellish replies simply, "He never said anything. Not a word."
Oswald died a few minutes later at Parkland Hospital.

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