Publisher disputes police statement on ’60 Minutes’
By Thomas Peele and Lani Silver, Chauncey Bailey Project
The CBS News television show “60 Minutes” will air a story at 7 tonight on the killing of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey. It includes an interview with the 20-year-old man charged with gunning down the veteran journalist on Aug. 2.
The segment also includes a statement by deputy police chief Howard Jordan that angered Bailey’s boss, Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb, when he saw a preview of the broadcast Friday night.
As he has in the past, accused gunman Devaughndre Broussard denies killing Bailey. He tells interviewer Anderson Cooper that someone else, whom Broussard doesn’t name, was the triggerman, according to a CBS statement. In a confession he later recanted, Broussard said he shot Bailey because the journalist was working on a story about the troubled finances and power struggles at Your Black Muslim Bakery, where Broussard worked as a handyman.
The part of the segment that upset Cobb was an interview in which Jordan told Cooper that police first learned of the bakery’s involvement in Bailey’s slaying when Cobb called Oakland police Chief Wayne Tucker with the information.
Cobb vehemently denied knowing of the bakery’s involvement until a homicide detective told him of such suspicions on the afternoon of Aug. 2. His initial calls to Tucker, Cobb said, were simply to urge police to take a statement from him and Bailey’s other co-workers.
“I didn’t say anything about the bakery” in the first phone calls, Cobb said. A man unrelated to the bakery had threatened Bailey days earlier, and Cobb said that was the person he first suspected in the shooting.
Since seeing an advance screening of the “60 Minutes” story Friday evening, Cobb has been saying in interviews that he disputes Jordan’s statement and is seeking clarification or a correction from the police department. He spoke with Tucker and city officials Saturday and attempted to contact “60 Minutes.”
In an e-mail to Tucker sent at 10:35 a.m. Saturday, Cobb wrote, “This statement depicts me and the Post in a false light. Jordan’s false representation endangers me and my family.”
Tucker refused to comment Saturday afternoon, saying he would not speak with any reporter affiliated with the Chauncey Bailey Project, a consortium of Bay Area news organizations investigating the bakery and Bailey’s killing.
When Oakland homicide detective Sgt. Derwin Longmire interviewed Post employees, Bailey’s bakery story was one of about five topics Cobb told him the editor was pursuing. Others included stories on the police department, former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and crime and homicides in the city.
Days earlier, Cobb had ordered Bailey to rework a story on the bakery’s financial troubles because it did not contain enough attribution. The story didn’t run.
Cobb said Saturday it was Longmire who first mentioned the bakery’s involvement, saying police had quickly established that someone had stalked Bailey.
In an interview last year with the Chauncey Bailey Project, attorney Walter Riley, who was present when Longmire spoke with Post staff, said Cobb told the detective Bailey was “working on several stories,” including one on police corruption, and that Cobb did not single out the bakery.
On Saturday, Cobb said what he described as Jordan’s misstatement endangered him, because Yusuf Bey IV, despite being jailed on charges unrelated to Bailey’s death, still has the ability “to call a shot on me. I’m concerned for me and my family.”
Cobb received threats in the days after Bailey’s death. Last month, a 60-year-old man claimed that two men he knew to have been affiliated with the bakery had offered him $3,000 to lure Cobb to a location where he would be killed. Police investigated but made no arrest.
Cobb has been increasingly critical of the police investigation, going as far as suggesting the U.S. Justice Department needs to take over the probe. He has also criticized the Chauncey Bailey Project for concentrating its stories on the bakery rather than the police, and he hasn’t given the project access to Bailey’s notes.
The “60 Minutes” segment focuses mostly on a jailhouse interview with Broussard.
The accused gunman tells Cooper he was ordered to confess by his religious leader, Yusef Ali Bey IV, who ran the bakery. Police did not tape that conversation even though both Broussard and Bey were in custody at the time.
“(Bey) was saying, ‘You got to take this fall.’ He was saying, like, ‘As your commanding officer, you got to follow orders,'” Broussard tells Cooper, according to a portion of the interview CBS News released Friday.
“He was telling me how I was being tested by God. You got to prove your loyalty and whatnot,” Broussard said. “(Bey said), ‘I’m helping you out. I’m telling you, you are being tested by God,'” according to CBS.
Broussard told Cooper he won’t name the gunman until his trial. He pleaded not guilty last month. No trial date has been set.
Bey IV faces charges in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case with several bakery co-defendants. His half-brother, Joshua Bey, entered a surprise guilty plea in the case earlier this month and agreed to testify against Bey IV and others.
A consortium of local journalism organizations, including the Bay Area News Group, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and New America Media of San Francisco, formed the Chauncey Bailey Project within weeks of Bailey’s death to continue Bailey’s work and investigate the bakery and the sprawling Bey family. The killing stunned Oakland, where Bailey was a well-known figure. He had worked for the Oakland Tribune and had his own television show. He had been editor of the Post, a weekly that serves the city’s African-American community, for three months.
Contact Thomas Peele at 510-208-6458 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chauncey Bailey Project’s Web site is chaunceybaileyproject.org.