Editor’s note: B. Venson Hughes worked at the Memphis Police Department. He was working the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. 40 years later, he shares his experience here:
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, I look back and still remember that evening very vividly. I was the Police communications officer on duty when the words came over the radio saying, "Tact 10, we have information that Dr. King has been shot". Our response was immediate. We started to seal off the area around the Lorraine Hotel so no one could enter or leave. In just a few minutes, officers advised they had found the weapon on S. Main Street, just a block away from the shooting scene. The security perimeter was expanded to include those Main Street buildings. I am convinced our officers missed Ray coming out of the rooming house by seconds.
Those first moments set off the largest manhunt ever conducted in the U.S. It involved thousands of law enforcement personnel in this country and four or five other countries. Since retiring, I have been collecting all of the original investigative documents I could find in order to preserve the historic value of the investigation. As I collected information, I had occasion to see the many "mis-truths" others had written about the assassination to sell their books. I also found many unanswered questions among the investigative documents. Having an unanswered question does not, necessarily, imply anything nefarious. It simply means issues exists that have not been fully resolved. We may never know the complete truth surrounding the events of April 4, 1968 but we should not stop looking.
- B. Venson Hughes, Memphis Police Department (retired)
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Filed under: Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination
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