Chauncey Bailey Project

Bey IV tried to strong-arm follower, recordings reveal

Yusuf Bey IV, left in sun glasses, and Kahlil Raheem, right in brown coat, enter courtroom Jan. 12, 2006, with body guards to plead not guilty to vandalizing two Oakland liquor stores. (Dan Rosenstrauch/ContraCostaTimes)
Yusuf Bey IV, left in sun glasses, and Kahlil Raheem, right in brown coat, enter courtroom Jan. 12, 2006, with body guards to plead not guilty to vandalizing two Oakland liquor stores. (Dan Rosenstrauch/ContraCostaTimes)

Yusuf Bey IV, left in sun glasses, and Kahlil Raheem, right in brown coat, enter courtroom Jan. 12, 2006, with body guards to plead not guilty to vandalizing two Oakland liquor stores. (Dan Rosenstrauch/ContraCostaTimes)

By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project

OAKLAND — Yusuf Bey IV tried several times last year to persuade one of his former followers from Your Black Muslim Bakery not to testify against him in a kidnapping and torture case, recorded telephone calls reveal.

Bey IV spoke with Kahlil Raheem from jail in early 2008 as authorities were pressuring Raheem to testify against him.

Sometimes cajoling, sometimes making veiled threats, Bey IV repeatedly asked Raheem not to cooperate with prosecutors even if it meant that Raheem would be locked up, according to recordings of the calls that The Chauncey Bailey Project obtained.

“They are going to send me to jail,” Raheem said to Bey IV on the Feb. 10, 2008. Raheem was promised probation on felony charges in another case in exchange for his testimony against Bey IV.

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Audio: Yusuf Bey IV talks with Kahlil Raheem in January 2008 about Raheem’s cooperation with prosecutors.
****

But first, Bey IV argued the point.

“They are not,” Bey IV replied. “They just gonna threaten you. Come on now. Police lie.” Then in another call, he told Raheem that not testifying “is the least you can do” and that a six-month jail term was acceptable if it meant scuttling the charges. When Raheem balked, Bey IV angrily blurted that by cooperating, Raheem was “taking away my chance to see my daughter.”

Bey IV’s common-law wife, Tiffany Wade, also known as Alaia Bey, had recently given birth to the couple’s third child. Bey IV also used Wade to send text messages to Raheem about not testifying, telling her to make sure they were immediately erased after sending.

In the same call, Bey IV pressured Raheem to visit him at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he insisted he was able to communicate freely even though visitor conversations are recorded, as are prisoner phone calls.

“If you don’t come, I’ll know what it means. It means: (Expletive) Yusuf, he’s in jail,” Bey IV said.

The pressure seemed to get to Raheem — for a while.

He missed a court date and was charged with contempt. He eventually testified under a threat of being jailed.

His testimony helped persuade a judge to order Bey IV and three of his followers to stand trial in the case. That decision was later thrown out for technical reasons. The defendants were recharged.

Last week, a judge rejected a motion by Bey IV to dismiss the case.

Evidence in the kidnapping case is “incredibly damaging” to Bey IV, Judge Thomas Reardon said in denying the motion.

Bey IV’s lawyer, Anne Beles, refused to discuss the calls. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Lamiero, who is prosecuting the kidnapping case as well as a separate triple murder case in which Bey IV is charged with ordering the killings of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men, declined to comment.

Raheem’s lawyer, Kristina Kliszewski, did not respond to a message.

Bey IV is “just digging his own grave” by making such calls, said former San Francisco Chief Public Defender Peter Keane. “He’s helping the prosecution’s case immensely. He’s creating evidence for prosecutors that buries him.”

Keane said no prosecutor would file witness-tampering charges in the matter because the value of the calls as evidence of guilt on the kidnapping charges is far more important, said Keane, who is now a law professor.

Raheem wasn’t charged in the kidnapping case, but he did face 33 years in prison in another felony involving Bey IV — attacks on two North Oakland liquor stores in 2005. Raheem pleaded no contest to one felony count of vandalism as part of his deal to testify against Bey IV in the kidnapping case. The recommendation for probation is dependent on his testimony at trial in that case.

Police say that after a police officer broke up the kidnapping and torture of two women May 17, 2007, Bey IV and four others ran from the scene.

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