Bailey ‘mistakes’ added to police chief’s decision to step down
By Thomas Peele and Bob Butler, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — As he announced his resignation Tuesday, police Chief Wayne Tucker acknowledged “mistakes” in his department’s investigation of journalist Chauncey Bailey’s 2007 killing.
Tucker also described former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV — who is uncharged in Bailey’s slaying — as “the one we want” to complete the investigation.
“We made mistakes on that case,” Tucker, 65, said at a news conference. He wouldn’t offer details, but did say homicide detectives “rely too much on interrogations” as a substitute for other investigative techniques “to a fault.”
Referring to him only as “the other party,” Tucker said it is obvious that Bey IV was involved in Bailey’s Aug. 2, 2007 killing.
One of his bakery followers, Devaughndre Broussard, is the only person charged with the killing. Broussard earlier confessed to the slaying, but has since recanted. On Friday, a judge may set a date for his trial.
Bey IV is charged in an unrelated kidnapping case for which he faces up to life in prison, and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the Bailey killing independently of the police.
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The beleaguered chief also didn’t mention the lead detective on the Bailey case, Sgt. Derwin Longmire. Bey IV was caught on a secretly recorded police video bragging to followers that Longmire was protecting him from charges. Lorna Brown, one of Bey IV’s lawyers, has described Longmire as a mentor to Bey IV.
The Chauncey Bailey Project reported in October that Longmire’s case notes didn’t mention several key pieces of evidence pointing to Bey IV’s involvement in a conspiracy to kill Bailey, including a secret police video.
Dellums then asked the state Justice Department to conduct a parallel investigation of a police Internal Affairs Division probe of Longmire. Also under investigation are Longmire’s supervisors, homicide Lt. Ersie Joyner III and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Loman. A lawyer for Longmire and Joyner has said they did nothing wrong.
Tucker said Tuesday that an outside investigator working for Internal Affairs would conduct interviews of Longmire and others soon.
Council members said the Bailey case, Oakland’s most prominent killing since members of the Symbionese Liberation Army assassinated schools Superintendent Marcus Foster in 1972 and the most prominent slaying of a journalist in the U.S. since the car-bomb killing of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles in 1976, shined a media spotlight on deep flaws within the department.
Four council members were scheduled to announce a no-confidence vote in Tucker on Tuesday but were pre-empted by the resignation.
“Even if everything was an honest mistake, the Chauncey Bailey case is shining a light on what we need to be looking at,” Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said. “Clearly, evidence was ignored. Or evidence in the Bailey case was filed in other cases. Or evidence like the video tape wasn’t followed up on.”
Any new chief has to reform the department’s investigative practices, Kaplan said.
Councilmember Larry Reid, chairman of the public safety committee, said he grew tired “of waking up in the morning and reading in the Oakland Tribune” about flaws in the Bailey case. “We have to talk about these things sooner rather than later.”
Bailey’s sister, Lorelei Waqia, said Tuesday that she still has a lot of questions about the killing and remains deeply unsatisfied with the department. She said that neither Tucker nor Assistant Chief Howard Jordan would return her calls and that a department spokesman once hung up on her.
Longmire, she said, assured Bailey’s family days after the killing that Broussard acted alone and that “they didn’t believe Bey IV was involved. He said ‘we have the (killer).’ He said Broussard was the only guy he was looking at.”
In the months since that conversation, she said Tuesday, it has become painfully obvious to her that she had been deceived.