Chauncey Bailey Project

Journalist’s sister sickened by video

Chauncey Bailey's sister, Lorelei Waqia, and his brother, Mark Cooley, spend a solemn Thanksgiving 2007 without Bailey. (Bob Butler photo)
Chauncey Bailey's sister, Lorelei Waqia, and his brother, Mark Cooley, spend a solemn Thanksgiving 2007 without Bailey. (Bob Butler photo)

By Thomas Peele, Bob Butler and Angela Hill, Chauncey Bailey Project

The sister of slain journalist Chauncey Bailey said she was sickened by a video that captures Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and two bakery associates joking about her brother’s killing.

“It was like a big joke to them “… like it was a big conquest that they got away with,” Lorelei Waqia said Thursday in a telephone interview from her Atlanta home. “To snuff out somebody and to think it’s a big joke is just sickening.”

In the video, secretly taped in a San Leandro Police Department interrogation room where Bey IV, 22, and bakery associates Joshua Bey, 19, and Tamon Halfin, 21, were being held in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case, Bey IV laughs about Bailey’s Aug. 2 killing. He mimics a shotgun blast to the journalist’s head, brags that he kept the gun used in the attack in his closet after the slaying, and says his friendship with the case’s lead investigator shielded him from charges.

In an interview last week, Bey IV said he was not involved in Bailey’s killing and said he knew he was being recorded and purposefully made misleading statements to fool investigators.

But Waqia said treating the death as if “it’s a big joke is just sickening.”

“I had to watch (the video) a few times for it to really sink in,” Waqia said, adding, “I’m still watching it and still having goose bumps.”

*****

Investigative report:

Main story:

“Secret video raises questions about bakery leader’s role in Bailey killing”

Side story: “Van owner: I gave the keys to Bey IV”

Lists: “Key players” and “Highlights gathered from documents, recordings”

Audio: “Chauncey Bailey Project reporter Bob Butler reports on the investigation.”

Press coverage: Michael Krasny interviews Robert Rosenthal, Thomas Peele and Peter Keane.

Reaction: “Journalist’s sister sickened by video”

Profile: “Bailey killing figure had troubled youth”

*****

Waqia said the lead investigator, Oakland police Detective Sgt. Derwin Longmire, told her shortly after Bailey was killed that police didn’t think Bey IV was involved. One of Bey IV’s lawyers has said Longmire has been like an older brother to Bey IV after meeting him a few years ago.

“We always thought Bey IV was involved,” Waqia said.

She said Longmire told her and other family members at a gathering in Oakland a few days after the shooting that police “had the man responsible” — bakery associate Devaughndre Broussard, 20. He is the only person charged with Bailey’s killing.

“We said, ‘What about (Bey) IV?'” Waqia and others asked Longmire.

The detective replied, “‘We don’t think he was involved,”‘ she said.

Longmire has not responded to requests for interviews, and police have refused to discuss the video, which was obtained by the Chauncey Bailey Project.

Police Chief Wayne Tucker and department spokesman Roland Holmgren did not return telephone calls for comment Thursday.

Waqia said she planned to call Longmire today to ask about the video.

“This does not shine good on them at all,” she said.

She added, “I can’t believe that all this is new to them (the cops). They’re being silent for a reason.”

Bailey, 57, was shot dead as he walked to work at the Oakland Post. Broussard, then 19 and a handyman at the bakery, was arrested Aug. 3 and confessed later that day, but has recanted.

Also Thursday, questions continued to swirl about how the video will impact Broussard’s prosecution. He pleaded not guilty in January and his trial could be scheduled at a court hearing set for July 25 in Oakland.

Broussard’s lawyer, LeRue Grim, said he has yet to receive the video even though it was recorded more than 10 months ago.

Grim said he hadn’t seen the video until reporters with the Chauncey Bailey Project showed it to him last week.

The video “should have been turned over to the defense at the outset,” prominent Oakland defense attorney John Burris said. “It’s exculpatory evidence, and could play a big part in the case for the defense, raising reasonable doubt.

“It’s pretty astonishing to me that “… the video evidence wasn’t turned over in the first place,” Burris said.

Officials in the Alameda County district attorney’s office refused to be interviewed about the video on Thursday or address whether it was sent to Grim.

“It is our policy and practice to litigate cases in the courtroom, not the media,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Nancy O’Malley wrote in a statement.

Former San Francisco prosecutor Jim Hammer said that because the video was recorded for a separate case in which Bey IV and others face charges of kidnapping and torturing two women, it may not have been directly given to other detectives investigating Bailey’s murder.

“It’s not unheard of to have two investigations going on “… and have a piece of evidence go through the cracks,” Hammer said. “I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the DA screwed up.”

Law enforcement officials contacted Thursday also declined to comment on the video and whether they had plans to investigate the handling of the case.

Garth Lacey, a spokesman for state Attorney General Jerry Brown, said Brown had no comment and does not plan to investigate. The U.S. Attorney for Northern California, Joseph Russoniello, also declined comment.

A spokesman for Mayor Ron Dellums also wouldn’t comment, saying the mayor does not discuss ongoing police investigations.

City Councilmember Larry Reid, chair of the public safety committee, called the video “very disturbing.”

“I read the story and it’s very disturbing to me,” said Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland). “I had people stopping me on the street all day expressing their outrage at what these guys did to Chauncey and the fact that they are not facing charges.”

Reid said he couldn’t comment on the police investigation because he hasn’t discussed it with Tucker.

Roland DeWolk from KTVU Channel 2 and Beth Rimbey from KGO-TV contributed to this report. Bob Butler is a freelance reporter. Contact him at

bobbutler7@comcast.net

Thomas Peele and Angela Hill are staff writers at Bay Area News Group-East Bay. Contact them at

tpeele@bayareanewsgroup.com

ahill@bayareanewsgroup.com

2 responses to “Journalist’s sister sickened by video”

  1. Carrie says:

    Great ! I will add this to my bookmarks. TY

  2. Mind your business says:

    They’re laughing because they could care less about Chauncey’s death and they feel that Chauncey should have minded his own business.
    Why didn’t he?
    Maybe he’d be alive today.
    Mr. Bey feels that Chauncey got what he deserved and that sad fact is made clear in this video.
    Chauncey should have found another story to write about, because “being dead right” is not always the best path.
    Chauncey’s death has made that very clear to a lot of people.

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