Access Denied

Posted March 9, 2005 at 3:06pm

These days, the press and Capitol Police seem to get along pretty well. Rarely is there an altercation between the two sides. But that wasn’t the case on April 29, 1944. That day, C. Edwin Alley, a photographer for Harris & Ewing, was headed for a pre-arranged photo shoot of a House Office Building elevator operator. But Pvt. J.H. Shelton, according to news reports, questioned the validity of Alley’s building pass, which a police lieutenant later confirmed was in good order.

One witness, International News Service photographer Madeleini Osborne, who took the above photo, said Shelton initially reached for his gun before using his blackjack to repeatedly hit Alley on the head and shoulders, knocking him unconscious. Shelton claimed that Alley hit him first.

House Sergeant-at-Arms Kenneth Romney immediately suspended Shelton pending an investigation. A few days later, Romney convened a hearing to review the incident. But Roll Call has been unable to track down an account of that hearing.