Chauncey Bailey remembered by family, friends on the one-year anniversary of his death
By Thomas Peele and Bob Butler, The Chauncey Bailey Project
Prayers, protests and unanswered questions marked the one-year anniversary of journalist Chauncey Bailey’s killing Saturday as his family and friends called for peace in this violence-marred city and former members of Your Black Muslim Bakery demanded more accountability from police and the media.
“We pray this day that the healing that is so needed will be a reality for us,” the Rev. Jay Matthews, pastor of St. Benedict’s Church, said to about 25 people who gathered at 14th and Alice streets near where Bailey, the former editor of the Oakland Post, died of three shotgun wounds.
A masked gunman killed Bailey a year ago Saturday. Police have charged a bakery handyman, Devaughndre Broussard, in the death. Broussard at first denied involvement, then gave police a recorded confession, which he later recanted.
In that confession, Broussard said he hunted down Bailey because he was “going to write bad things about the bakery.”
He pleaded not guilty; his trial date will be set next month.
Bailey was working on a story about the bakery’s bankruptcy and an internal power struggle between Yusef Bey IV, a biological son of late business founder Yusuf Ali Bey, and older members of the organization who had taken the Bey name and considered themselves adopted sons.
In North Oakland on Saturday, supporters of the now defunct bakery gathered on San Pablo Avenue said, they, too, mourned Bailey and demanded more answers about his killing and the police investigation of it.
“There’s a bunch of questions that remain to be answered,” said Saleem Bey, a former bakery officer who took the family name. He was a source of information for Bailey’s story, which never was published.
He said that in order to destroy the business, law enforcement officials allowed its then 20-year-old chief executive officer, Bey IV, to remain in charge of the organization despite a string of criminal cases against him in San Francisco, and in Alameda, Solano and Contra Costa counties.
“Why wasn’t Yusuf Bey IV in jail,” he said to a gathering of about 20 people.
The day after Bailey’s killing, Bey IV was charged with a separate kidnapping and torture case for which he faces life in prison. Earlier this week, in another case, he was sentenced to three years in prison for vandalizing two North Oakland liquor stores in November 2005
In a secretly recorded police video filmed three days after Bailey’s killing, Bey IV bragged that he put the sawed-off shotgun used in the attack in his bedroom closet after the attack, mocked the impact of the three fatal blasts to Bailey’s head and chest and laughed about the killing.
Bey IV also bragged that the lead homicide detective investigating the killing, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, a family friend, was protecting him from charges.
Bey IV, in both law enforcement interrogations and media interviews, has denied involvement in Bailey’s killing.
Saleem Bey ripped Oakland police, saying that Bailey’s killing has not been thoroughly investigated and that Longmire should be taken off the case.
He was also critical of The Chauncey Bailey Project, a media consortium that he said has “not done its due diligence” in investigating police.
Mark Cooley, Bailey’s brother, also said Saturday that he believed Longmire should be removed from the investigation.
“It’s very obvious that more people than Broussard were involved,” Cooley said. “Longmire’s association with Bey IV certainly makes you uneasy. It’s a conflict of interest.”
On Friday, the press-freedom organization Reporters Without Borders called for the Justice Department to investigate Bailey’s death, and launched a petition drive.
The petition can be viewed at the organization’s Web address, www.rsf.org