Chauncey Bailey’s family still in pain two years after slaying
By Thomas Peele and Bob Butler, The Chauncey Bailey Project
The pain of their brother’s slaying remains acute for journalist Chauncey Bailey’s siblings two years after officials say he was killed in an effort to stop him from writing about Your Black Muslim Bakery in the Oakland Post.
“To me, closure is maybe a doctor’s term or a psychological term,” said Bailey’s sister, Lorelei Waqia. “I don’t think you ever get closure. … I’m trying to be understanding and trying to put it behind me, but at the end of the day, it’s really hard.
“It’s just a void there in our family. We try not think a lot about it because it was so senseless. It didn’t have to happen.”
Mark Cooley, who briefly wrote for the Post after his brother’s slaying, expressed similar sentiments.
“Everybody is trying to go back to their normal life,” he said.
Bailey died at a time when he was reconnecting with his family. Just months before the shooting, he had taken his father, Chauncey Bailey Sr., on a cruise, ending years of estrangement. Accompanying them on the trip was the journalist’s son, Chauncey Bailey III.
The family declined to make Bailey III available for an interview. He is 15 and lives in Southern California.
“For a while, his grades had really suffered and he was just really withdrawn. Now his mother has him in different activities so he’s doing a lot better,” Waqia said.
The family remains skeptical about the way the case was handled. Oakland police assigned Sgt. Derwin Longmire, a detective friendly with Bey IV and his family, as the lead investigator.
Longmire did not list in his case notes evidence that suggested Bey IV was at the center of a conspiracy to kill Bailey. Rather, his investigation faltered after Devaughndre Broussard, a Bey IV follower, confessed to the shooting.
Waqia and Cooley said it was obvious from the beginning that Broussard, then 19 and working as a bakery dishwasher, did not act alone. He pleaded guilty in April and told a grand jury that Bey IV ordered the hit and Antoine Mackey, another bakery follower, helped him carry it out.
Bey IV and Mackey now are charged with murder. The police department is now in the process of firing Longmire and disciplining his former supervisor for failing to properly supervise the investigation.
Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan said earlier this year that it was a mistake to leave Longmire on the case, given his ties to Bey IV.
Cooley said the situation has left him with doubts about how criminal justice works.
“You believe in the system until the system lets you down, and it leaves you complacent about who you can trust and who you can’t,” he said.
“We’re still really frustrated,” she said. “We know who did it, we know why and we’re just waiting for the trial now and for justice to be served.”
She still speaks of the killing in surreal terms.
“It’s not like Broussard knew my brother. He didn’t know him from anyone and that’s what makes it so devastating, too,” she said. “I mean that’s a person’s life. That person has family, children, it’s just unreal to me that there’s no sense of compassion for someone’s life.”
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–The Chauncey Bailey slaying: Key players
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–Yusuf Bey built business empire with questionable tactics
–Welfare money-maker for senior Bey
–Bey’s security firms important financial arm of his businesses
–Yusuf Bey IV grew up in prominent yet troubled bakery
–Bailey suspects, associates left behind $6 million trail of bad loans
–Security business at Marriott earns praise
–The Oakland Post pushes forward despite loss of its prolific editor
–Chauncey Bailey’s family still in pain two years after killing