Commentary: Publisher wants feds to probe Bailey killing
- The publisher of the Oakland newspaper that slain journalist Chauncey Bailey edited said yesterday that his paper’s revenues have declined because of the slaying, and that he wants the federal government to investigate suspicions that the Oakland police were complicit in the assassination.
- Paul Cobb, publisher of the Oakland Post, made the comments in Washington during and after a news conference by the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, which released its 2008 annual report. Cobb said after the session that the newspaper had lost $155,000 in revenue compared with the same period a year before. People might send sympathy cards, he told Journal-isms, “but they don’t do sympathy advertising. Some of them feel like, ‘let’s wait til this clears up.'”
Police placed Cobb and another man under protection last month after the man said two men he knew to be once associated with Your Black Muslim Bakery offered him $3,000 to lure Cobb to a place where they intended to kill him, Thomas Peele reported then for the Chauncey Bailey Project.
“The threat came five months after the Post’s editor, Chauncey Bailey, was shot to death as he walked to work on Aug. 2 near Alice and 14th streets. A bakery associate, Devaughndre Broussard, then 19, confessed the next day to killing Bailey because the journalist was planning a story [on the] business’s troubled finances, police said. Broussard later recanted and is awaiting trial,” Peele wrote.
Cobb said Wednesday that Bailey “was investigating the police and the Black Muslim Bakery and investigating the connection between the two” when he was killed. “I killed the story because it didn’t have total attribution,” he said at the news conference, “but the word got out in the streets that he was doing a story.”
Cobb went on to cite a number of instances where the police officer who befriended the suspect also conducted the investigation. “We are still, by the way, investigating the police,” Cobb said. “It is a tricky situation.”
A November story by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken began, “Yusuf Bey IV, the young leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery, boasted to his followers that he had avoided being implicated in the slaying of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey because of his relationship with the officer assigned to investigate the case.”
Referring to Oakland homicide investigator Sgt. Derwin Longmire, a 22-year department veteran, the story quoted Bey, 21, as saying, “The reason they didn’t pin the (Bailey) murder on me was because of Longmire.” It said Bey made the comments to two associates on an Aug. 6 video recording reviewed by the Chronicle.
Oakland police spokesman Roland Holmgren told Journal-isms that police are no longer commenting on the Bailey case. Cobb asked reporters “to make phone calls to ask them about the progress of the case . . . and circulate their answers throughout the community, regardless of what it is.”