Police crack down on Dealey Plaza vendors



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Posted on June 16, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 16 at 11:15 AM

DALLAS - It's the most famous plaza in Dallas, the site of the city's most infamous crime.

On any given day, a trip through Dealey Plaza would not be complete without vendors, peddling maps, newspapers, even conspiracy theories but that's all changing.

Michael Brownlow gives tours and talks about conspiracy theories. Even he acknowledges sometimes the vendors get out of hand.

"They walk up and say would you like a tour and you say 'no' and they continue on and continue on and they actually intimidate people and some people are scared," he said.

That has prompted Dallas police to crack down here. They are ticketing and arresting people who don't have permits.

"When a visitor is coming to City of Dallas and the first thing they are being cussed at or spit on or harassed that's not the image we want portrayed," deputy chief Vince Golbeck from the Dallas police said.

But Brownlow says not all vendors intimidate people. He says there are people like him who are simply trying to get the word out about different theories on Kennedy's assassination. He feels police are heavy handed. He watched a good friend arrested this weekend.

"I feel like his civil rights were violated and his constitutional rights," he said.

Dallas police say the vendors are allowed to give papers away or sell them on public sidewalks but once they enter Dealey Plaza, which is considered a park, they are committing a crime.

"It is giving another perspective of that important piece of history and that is fine if they are doing so on public property," said Golbeck.

We spoke with one vendor who was arrested and he's contacted an attorney. He feels his rights have been violated because they should be allowed to sell in what he says is a public place.

DPD says for now they'll keep enforcing the ordinance that's on the books.

E-mail: rlopez@wfaa.com