It's supposed to prove evidence tampering on the part of the Dallas Police Department. At right is a page from Anthony Summers' book Conspiracy. At the top of the page is a photograph of the the backyard of General Edwin Walker, the right-wing political activist who Oswald tried to kill. As is obvious, the license plate of one of the cars parked behind Walker's house has been torn out. Who tore it out?
The Warren Commission believed Oswald did. But conspiracy authors have pointed to a Dallas Police photo of evidence from the Paine residence laid out on the floor. See the bottom of the image at right. The Oswald photo is included among this evidence, and the license plate is supposedly intact in this photo. This shows, it's claimed, that the plate was torn out after the "evidence" photo was made, while the Walker backyard photo was in the possession of the Dallas Police.
Summers asks, with sinister intonation, "what could have been the motive for concealing the plate?" Of course, we might ask Summers how this would indicate a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. The most obvious reason for concealing the plate would be that someone in the Dallas Police Department was embarrassed about his own or a friend's association with Walker. And we might ask why the Dallas cops didn't simply make the photo disappear entirely. But one is not supposed to ask such questions of conspiracy authors.
Of course, if one looks carefully at the low resolution version of the photo printed on conspiracy books, it's really not clear that the license plate is intact. You can't see that it has been torn out, but you can't see that it's there either.
What do we find if we look at a higher resolution version? It happens that the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has a first generation print of this evidence picture, and they have done a special blowup of the area that shows Oswald's photo of the back of Walker's house. Here it is:
A jagged area suggests that the plate has already been torn out. An even larger blowup (below) shows that indeed the license plate is missing in the "evidence" photo. The photo is laying on a notebook, rather than on a black background, but the outline of a tear that matches the Warren Commission version of the photo is visible.
So it seem that, yet again, conspiracy authors have jumped to conclusions based on poor quality photographic evidence.
Dale Myers brought the photo in the Texas State Archives to this writer's attention.