Online Collection

James Leavelle Oral History

Object Number: 2002.001.0017
Category: Oral Histories
Oral history interview subject: James R. Leavelle
Oral history interviewer: Stephen Fagin
Oral history interviewer: Gary Mack
Type of Object: Oral history
Dimensions: 119 Minutes
Copyright Info: The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Videotaped oral history interview with James "Jim" Leavelle. Mr. Leavelle was the Dallas Police homicide detective immortalized in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by Bob Jackson of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. Wearing a light-colored suit and cowboy hat, he was handcuffed to Oswald and helped wrestle Jack Ruby to the floor after the shooting.

Interview conducted at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza on June 10, 2002 by Gary Mack, Curator, and Stephen Fagin, Associate Curator. The interview is one hour and fifty-nine minutes long.

The video attached to this record is an excerpt. The entire interview is available in our Reading Room to on-site researchers or by submitting a Rights & Reproductions Request Form.
Curator's Notes

Detective Leavelle, whose look of shock as Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald was so clearly captured on film and video, has tirelessly defended the Dallas Police Department's actions and reputation.  Even into his 90s, Leavelle patiently explains to researchers, students and anyone who asks what officers did in those days and why, comparing and contrasting their efforts with those of law enforcement agencies today.  His cream-colored Neiman Marcus suit and Resistol hat has been on exhibit at this Museum several times over the years.  - Gary Mack, Curator

In addition to this 2002 video recording, Mr. Leavelle has participated in several follow-up interviews and public programs at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza that are also part of the Museum's Oral History Collection. - Stephen Fagin, Curator

All requests for permission to reproduce, publish or broadcast materials in this collection must be submitted to the Museum's registrar, using the Rights & Reproductions Request Form. Inquiries may be sent to