[LINCOLN -- ASSASSINATION]. RICHARDS, A.C., Police superintendant, Washington, D.C. Partly-printed document signed twice, countersigned by T.A. Lazenby as Secretary and witness Charles Forbes "at President's House," also signed by Lincoln's bodyguard on the night of April 14, 1865, John F. Parker, certifying receipt of the document. Department of Metropolitan Police, 488 "Tenth" Street, Washington City, 1 May 1865. 1 page, folio.
LINCOLN'S BODYGUARD AT FORD'S THEATRE IS OFFICIALY CHARGED WITH NEGLECT OF DUTY ON APRIL 14, 1865
John F. Parker, a Washington policeman with a dubious record, had been one of four plainclothes guards assigned to the Executive Mansion since 1863, during which time he had been cited for absenteeism, insubordination and a host of other offences. On the night of 14 April 1865, it was Parker who was detailed to accompany the President and his party to Ford's Theatre. He was to have been close to the President at all times. Here, several weeks after Lincoln's assassination, Parker is formally notified that "charges have been preferred against you," and a trial is to be convened on 3 May on charges of "neglect of duty." In the specification of the charge, Richards adds details: "...Patrolman John F. Parker was detailed to attend and protect the President Mr. Lincoln, that while the President was at Ford's Theatre on the night of 14 of April of last, said Parker allowed a man to enter the President's box and shoot the President."
Various theories as to Parker's dereliction have been advanced: that he had left the theatre for a drink, or, more likely, that he had stepped outside of the box to watch the play. The charges against him were dismissed on 2 June 1865.