The Witness series brings together the men and women of Law Enforcement who were instrumental in landmark events in American history. For information about upcoming programs please visit the Museums Events pages.
On June 5, 2012, the National Law Enforcement Museum hosted a panel discussion around the June 5, 1968, assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Evan Thomas, author of Robert Kennedy: His Life, started the discussion by describing the social, cultural and political landscape of 1968. Thomas described then-presidential candidate, Robert “Bobby” Kennedy as someone who was on the brink of “being great” when he was fatally shot by an Arab immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan in the Ambassador Hotel. Kennedy’s death following his brother’s assassination in 1963 and the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968 was a huge blow to the optimism for a brighter future that his campaign brought had invigorate in some Americans. Arturo Placencia, retired Los Angeles (CA) Police Department officer who arrested Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan recalled, “I was a 21-year old rookie cop, only three weeks out of the Academy when we got the call.” Placenia vividly described the emotions and confusion following the shooting that injured five people, in addition to Kennedy, brought those chaotic moments alive. Steven Hughes, head of the Dignitary Protective Division of the US Secret Service, explained that in 1968 law did not require the US Secret Service to protect presidential candidates as it does today.
This program was generously sponsored by Target