Newly released document shows further police suspicion of bakery’s violent crime ties
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — By late July 2007, detectives investigating two North Oakland street killings had strongly tied them to Your Black Muslim Bakery and had a witness who saw a gunman running from a scene, according to a search-warrant affidavit a judge allowed to be released Monday.
The affidavit is further evidence of police suspicions that bakery members were tied to escalating violent crimes before the shooting death of journalist Chauncey Bailey and shows police moving quickly to raid the bakery.
The Chauncey Bailey Project has reported that police delayed the raid from Aug. 1, 2007, to Aug. 3, 2007, to accommodate the vacation schedules of two SWAT commanders. A masked gunman killed Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007. A bakery dishwasher is charged with the slaying.
According to the affidavit, police believe the same person is responsible for the shooting death of both Odell Roberson on July 8, 2007, and Michael Wills, four days later, July 12. Each was killed with the same AK-47 assault rifle, according to the document, prepared by Detective Sgt. Louis Cruz.
Alameda Superior Court Judge Joseph Hurley allowed police Monday to release a censored copy of Cruz’s affidavit under a settlement with The Chauncey Bailey Project, which had sought to have it unsealed. Police declined to be interviewed Monday about the affidavit’s content.
A judge signed Cruz’s warrant July 30. Sources have told the Bailey project that the journalist’s slaying might have been prevented had the raid happened when scheduled.
Although Devaughndre Broussard is the lone person charged in the killing, authorities now say they suspect bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV was involved. He is jailed in an unrelated kidnapping case.
In the affidavit, Cruz wrote that an unnamed witness saw a man running with a rifle from the Wills killing at about 3:45 a.m. in the 6300 block of San Pablo Avenue, three blocks from the bakery. The man was described as about 5 feet 8 inches tall, wearing a black watch cap “with the sides neatly folded upward, a black hooded sweatshirt and baggy khaki pants.” Police have never said publicly there was a witness in the case.
Cruz also quotes from an unidentified person with knowledge of the bakery who described one person working there as a “hit man” and the “go-to guy in the organization.” That person’s name is blacked out.
The affidavit also documents two other violent incidents at the bakery leading up to the Bailey killing and raid.
On July 7, shortly after midnight, an unidentified man flagged down a passing officer and said five or six men at the bakery assaulted him, including one who broke a bottle over his head. The officer reported seeing men on the bakery roof as he tried to investigate and also on the roof of buildings across San Pablo Avenue.
The victim “had several cuts on his head. His face was covered in blood. (He) started yelling that he was not a snitch and didn’t want to press charges,” the affidavit states.
In another incident for which no date is provided, Cruz wrote that he reviewed reports that police responded to a disturbance at San Pablo Avenue in which they found six men apparently associated with the bakery had handcuffed a woman who was not wearing pants.
One of the men told police he worked for one of the bakery security companies and that the woman was “disturbing the business,” Cruz wrote. Neither the woman nor the person who handcuffed her is identified.
It is unclear how the matter was resolved.
The Bailey killing remains clouded in unanswered questions. The Chauncey Bailey Project reported in October that the lead detective on the case, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, failed to document evidence of Bey IV’s involvement in the slaying.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is investigating it independently of the Oakland police and both the police Internal Affairs Division and the state Department of Justice are investigating Longmire and his supervisors, homicide unit Lt. Ersie Joyner and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Loman.
Longmire and Joyner are both being transferred to the patrol division early next year. Police commanders said those moves are unrelated to the Bailey case.
Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group. Reach him at Tepeele@bayareanewsgroup.com