Chauncey Bailey Project

Chauncey Bailey Project questions veracity of police investigation

Sergeant Derwin Longmire, lead investigator in the Chauncey Bailey murder case. (Nader Khouri/Contra Costa Times)
Sergeant Derwin Longmire, lead investigator in the Chauncey Bailey murder case. (Nader Khouri/Contra Costa Times)

By Thomas Peele, Bob Butler and Mary Fricker, The Chauncey Bailey Project





On Sunday, the Chauncey Bailey Project will report that Yusuf Bey IV, the former head of the now-defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery, played a larger role in the Aug. 2, 2007, killing of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey than previously known. The project also will report that Sgt. Derwin Longmire, the lead investigator in Bailey’s killing, never documented in his case notes key evidence linking Bey IV to deeper involvement in the crime.

That evidence raises questions about Bey IV role in Bailey’s killing and about why Devaughndre Broussard, the 21-year-old who worked as a janitor at the bakery, is the only person charged in the case.

Four months ago, the project reported on a secretly recorded police video that showed Bey IV laughing about the killing, throwing his head back to imitate the 12-gauge shotgun blast that tore apart the left side of Bailey’s face.

A camera concealed in a police-holding cell caught Bey IV saying he’d played “hella dumb” when questioned about the killing and bragging that his friend Longmire was protecting him from charges.

Authorities first said the secret video, which was recorded as part of a separate felony investigation of Bey IV and four of his other followers, didn’t have anything to do with Broussard’s prosecution and didn’t turn it over to his lawyer.

But after the Chauncey Bailey Project reported on the video in June and posted portions of it on the Internet, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office gave the video to Broussard’s attorney more than 10 months after it was recorded.

“Something’s fishy. It appears (Bey IV) has some serious involvement, both before and after” the killing, said Richard Leo, a criminal law professor and author of a book on interrogations who said he found “a glaring problem” in the way Longmire worked the case, adding that numerous questions about the complete picture of what happened remain unanswered.

Police treated Bailey’s killing as “a run-of-the-mill homicide,” said Jeffrey Snipes, chairman of the San Francisco State University criminology department and a frequent law enforcement consultant. But “it’s a big homicide. It’s “… a retaliatory killing of a journalist.”

The world sees killings to silence journalists “occurring in Russia, occurring in Chechnya. We don’t see that occurring in the United States,” said Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police Commissioner and Dean Emeritus of Golden Gate University Law School.

“It’s something we should all be alarmed at because the assassination of a journalist gets to the heart of the First Amendment, at the ability of the press to gather information for the people. It hits at the basis of our democratic society,” said Keane, one of seven legal and criminal experts, including a retired judge, who reviewed documents and recordings for the Project and found significant problems and bias with Longmire’s investigation.

On Sunday and Monday, the Chauncey Bailey Project will try to answer some of the questions that revolve around Longmire and Bey IV and why police never charged more people in Bailey’s killing.



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