Secret video raises questions about bakery leader’s role in Bailey killing
This story contains language that does not normally appear in the Oakland Tribune and its sister papers in the Bay Area News Group — East Bay.
But to remove certain words attributed to Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV from this story would lessen the impact of what he said on a secretly recorded video about the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey when he apparently thought only two of his associates could hear him. Those things are far different from what he told police.
You can hear and see the video at oaklandtribune.com.
The sound on the video was enhanced at sound studio. We did that with our partners in the Chauncey Bailey Project so we could fully report what Bey IV and the others said about Bailey’s killing. Reporters, editors and Web producers reviewed the video, which at times is difficult to hear, hundreds of times. Where language is unclear, ellipses appear in the text.
— Martin G. Reynolds, editor, The Oakland Tribune, 510-208-6433 or email@example.com
— Robert J. Rosenthal, executive editor, The Chauncey Bailey Project
By Thomas Peele, Bob Butler, Mary Fricker and Josh Richman, The Chauncey Bailey Project
Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV kept the gun used to kill journalist Chauncey Bailey in his closet after the attack and bragged of playing “hella dumb” when investigators asked him about the shooting, according to a secretly recorded police video.
He describes Bailey’s shooting in detail on the video, then laughingly denies he was there, and boasts that his friendship with the case’s lead detective protected him from charges.
Bey IV has not been arrested in Bailey’s Aug. 2 death; Devaughndre Broussard, a then-19-year-old bakery handyman, has been charged in the killing. In an interview last week at the Alameda County Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he is being held on unrelated kidnapping and torture charges, Bey IV, 22, denied any role in the killing.
The video and scores of other documents and police recordings obtained by the Chauncey Bailey Project raise questions about Bey IV’s possible role in a conspiracy to kill Bailey, who was working on a story about the financially troubled bakery.
The videotape and documents incriminate Bey IV, said one expert who reviewed them.
“All of those things together make it a very powerful, compelling set of facts that Yusuf Bey was involved and that Yusuf Bey should be charged, at a minimum, as an accessory to murder,” said Peter Keane, a veteran criminal lawyer and dean emeritus of Golden Gate University Law School.
Oakland police and prosecutors in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office refused requests for interviews. Police would not allow reporters to interview the case’s lead detective, Sgt. Derwin Longmire.
“The investigation is still ongoing,” Oakland police Assistant Chief Howard Jordan said earlier this month.
“We aren’t done with this.”
Side story: “Van owner: I gave the keys to Bey IV”
Video: “Taped jailhouse conversation raises questions,” KTVU-TV
Video: “Jailhouse video sheds light on Bailey murder,” KGO-TV
Video: “Secret video raises questions about bakery leader’s role in Bailey killing,” Center for Investigative Reporting
Reaction: “Journalist’s sister sickened by video”
In the video, Bey brags of mocking police and keeping the sawed-off shotgun a masked gunman used to shoot Bailey three times at point-blank range.
“I had it in my room the whole time after it happened,” Bey IV said.
In the video, Bey IV jerks back his head to mimic a shotgun blast to the face, saying, “Pow, pow! Poof!”
More than 10 months have passed since Oakland police arrested Broussard, now 20. He confessed to the killing, but has since recanted and pleaded not guilty. His trial has yet to be scheduled.
The documents and recordings give no indication police challenged inconsistencies in statements given by Bey IV and Broussard; nor do they indicate Bey IV was ever questioned about statements on the video regarding his description of Bailey’s death or possession of the shotgun.
The documents also raise questions about the accuracy of the lead detective’s summation of evidence used to charge Broussard. The summary attributes words and details to Broussard that do not appear in the confession as recorded or in the detective’s notes of it.
‘Don’t kill me’
The morning he was shot, Bailey, 57, the editor of the Oakland Post, a weekly serving the city’s African-American community, had just left a McDonald’s on 14th Street where he frequently stopped for breakfast. It was 7:20 a.m. Aug. 2.
Bailey walked about 30 feet when, according to witnesses, a man in a ski mask and black clothing carrying a sawed-off, pistol-grip shotgun ran up to him.
One person said Bailey blurted out, “Don’t kill me.”
The first shot tore through Bailey’s chest; the second blew off most of his face. The gunman stepped away, and then turned and stood over Bailey and fired another blast into his abdomen.
Bailey was the first reporter killed because of his or her work in the United States since 1993, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Twenty-two hours after Bailey’s death, police raided the bakery compound on San Pablo Avenue to arrest Bey IV and others in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case; Broussard, according to police reports, was seen throwing a sawed-off shotgun out a window of an adjacent building. Police arrested him.
In an early interview with police, Broussard denied involvement in Bailey’s killing. So did Bey IV, although he did tell police he thought Broussard might have been involved.
Later that afternoon, a ballistics expert told Longmire that tests showed the gun Broussard threw out the window that morning fired the shots that killed Bailey.
Longmire went back to interview Broussard, who again denied involvement. Bey IV was then put in the room alone with Broussard. After seven minutes, Bey IV was removed and Broussard, now alone with detectives, confessed.
According to a recording of his confession, Broussard — who told officers he wanted to be a “real strong soldier” — said he planned the shooting and carried it out on his own. Bey IV, he said, was not involved.
The video police surreptitiously recorded the video three days after they arrested Bey IV, his half-brother, Joshua Bey, 19, and a bakery member, Tamon Halfin, 21, on kidnapping and torture charges involving two women they were allegedly trying to extort.
They were left unattended in a holding cell at the San Leandro Police Department as a camera ran. Recent testimony in the kidnapping case revealed that Oakland detectives dropped the men there en route to court and feigned car trouble as an excuse to put them alone in the room, hoping the trio would incriminate themselves.
“Let’s get our stories straight,” said Bey IV near the beginning of the video, adding later, “They can’t record through the door.”
The three often whisper. Poor sound quality mars much of the video. The Bailey Project had the video enhanced at a recording studio.
The men are seated and their hands are shackled.
Bey IV tells Joshua Bey and Halfin that Longmire was protecting him from charges in the Bailey case. In a published report last year, Lorna Brown, one of Bey IV’s lawyers, said Longmire had become like an older brother and mentor to her client after the two met in 2005 when the detective investigated the shooting death of Bey IV’s brother, Antar Bey.
In the video, Bey IV said, “The reason they didn’t pin the murder on me was because of Longmire.”
He said Longmire told him, “I’m not even going to have you involved with that (Bailey’s killing) because it will make the bakery look terrible.”
Longmire did not respond to phone calls and e-mail requests for an interview to discuss the interrogation. Police sometimes mislead suspects in the hope of their making incriminating statements.
The weapon used to kill Bailey was a sawed-off, 12-gauge, Mossberg pump-action shotgun. Court records show that it was stolen in November 2005 from a liquor store Bey IV and several followers are accused of ransacking.
The gun was linked to a second shooting in January 2006, in which the windows were shot out of a car belonging to a man who had once dated Bey IV’s girlfriend. No charges have been filed in that case.
When Longmire asked Broussard to whom the shotgun belonged, Broussard replied: “That’s my shotgun,” according to the interrogation recording. Broussard told the detective he had the shotgun for “a couple of years.”
Longmire didn’t ask for specifics.
Records show that Broussard was in jail in San Francisco on assault and robbery charges when the gun was stolen and had not started working at the bakery.
In one of the interrogations, Longmire asked Bey IV, “Do you know what happened to the gun?” Bey IV replied: “I sure don’t.”
But on the video, Bey IV refers to the gun “they used” in the attack; he does not say who “they” were.
“The night before (the raid), the gun that was used was in my closet … ” Bey IV said.
“The ‘shotty’?” Joshua Bey asked excitedly, leaning forward, laughing, his shackles clanking.
“The shotty,” Bey IV replies in a whisper. “But I had it in my room the whole time after it happened — the shells there and everything — I didn’t even touch it since he did it.”
Bey IV said he later returned the gun to Broussard because he thought the FBI was watching the bakery.
“I came back to Dre’s (Broussard) and said, ‘Keep it in case something happened,’” Bey IV said on the video, “and he never gave it back to me.
“But had that been in my room. Oh,” Bey IV said, his voice fading as he shook his head side to side and smiled.
‘Pow, pow! Poof!’
In the video, Bey IV, Joshua Bey and Halfin talked about the Bailey shooting in detail.
First, they discussed the kidnapping case and the police who investigated it.
Bey IV chided Halfin for missing an opportunity to kill the police officer who happened upon the kidnapping and rescued the two women.
Bey IV said he “may have to sacrifice another soldier,” a reference to having the police officer killed to stop him from testifying in the case.
The men then discussed a violent weekend in Oakland before getting back to Bailey’s shooting.
Suddenly, Bey IV leaned forward and said, “That fool said, ‘Pow, pow! Poof!’ He a soldier for that shit.”
Joshua Bey leaned forward and asked, “Where he shoot him at?”
“The head,” Bey IV replied, throwing his head back, mimicking the impact of a shotgun blast to the head.
Joshua Bey and Halfin laughed, and Joshua Bey asked, “You was there?”
Bey IV smiled and replied, “Hell, no. Hell, no! You ain’t about to put me close” and laughed loudly.
“… But I went by there as soon as it was over,” Bey IV said, adding later that he “went by the scene and everything was kick-ass.
At another point in the video, Bey IV said Alameda County District Attorney’s Office investigators pressed him to admit that he ordered Bailey killed, but that he mocked them.
“They looked at each other and said, ‘Why don’t you just give the guys up. You know they did it on your order.’ I said, ‘Order? Order what?’ I said, ‘We ordered sandwiches and shit.’ I was playing hella dumb with this shit.”
In a jailhouse interview with the Bailey Project last week, Bey IV said he knew police were recording him and said that he made false statements to mislead them.
“I am not slow,” he said. “We all knew everything was taped. None of it was facts. I have the truth on my side. I am a man of God,” he said, adding that he didn’t remember what he said while being recorded.
He again denied any role in Bailey’s killing, using the same answer he gave police when they asked him if he was involved: “Of course not.” He referred other questions to two criminal lawyers representing him,
Theodore Johnson and Brown. Neither returned repeated phone calls.
Broussard’s lawyer, LeRue Grim, said the video supports the version of events Broussard has explained since he recanted his confession — that someone else killed Bailey.
“It exonerates my client,” Grim said. Grim had not seen the video before reporters showed it to him last week and said that the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office had not turned it over to him.
As part of a criminal case, the government must provide the defense with all relevant information, including what could exonerate a defendant.
Grim said he has received documents dated months after the video was recorded, but said that he didn’t know the video existed when a judge ruled Nov. 22 that police established probable cause for Broussard to be tried on suspicion of murder.
“If I could have shown this to the magistrate at the preliminary hearing, he might have made a different decision,” Grim said.
Chief deputy district attorney Nancy O’Malley and assistant district attorney Tom Rogers, who supervises homicide prosecutions, declined repeated requests for an interview.
“This videotape tells us that Yusuf Bey IV was involved, that he was there, and that he was very likely the person who orchestrated the entire thing,” said Keane, Keane, also a former member of the San Francisco Police Commission. “It puts together what the role of Yusuf Bey (IV) was and that role was someone very much in charge.”
He asked, “Why isn’t he charged as an accessory to the murder? There’s enough there that he should be charged in my opinion.”
Bey IV’s discussion of Bailey’s killing is “clearly a description of someone who seems to be reconstructing it from something that he saw firsthand in terms of the pantomime, the mannerisms about Bailey’s head going in a certain way.”
In the video, Bey IV said he told police both that Broussard killed Bailey and that he told Broussard to confess to the crime.
“I told Dre — because they were trying to put that murder on me and the bakery,” Bey IV said on the video.
“He (Longmire) said, ‘If you don’t hand the dude over to me, we’re going to pin the bakery that you did it.’ … But Dre was, uh, so Dre, I told Dre, I said … you did it. Dre looked at me, looked back at the cop. He said, ‘Yeah, I did it.’ And that’s how it happened, because they tried to make it look like the bakery did it.”
In his first interrogation by Longmire, Bey IV said he suspected that Broussard could have been involved in the shooting but provided no details, according to Longmire’s investigation log.
Detectives then interviewed Broussard, but did not record the conversation. According to Longmire’s notes of the conversation, Broussard denied shooting Bailey.
In a later interrogation, Longmire asked Bey IV if Broussard “was instructed by you to be honest about what happened, to tell the truth about it, do you think he would do it?” Bey IV said he didn’t know.
Then police brought Bey IV into the interrogation room with Broussard and they were left alone for about seven minutes, Longmire’s notes show. Police didn’t record the conversation.
According to documents, an officer looked into the room and saw Broussard crying. Bey IV was taken out; Longmire turned on recording equipment and said, “OK, man. What happened?” according to the recording.
That police failed to record Bey IV and Broussard together is a gaping hole in the case, Keane said.
“All of the answers to everything that everybody is looking for lie in those seven minutes,” Keane said.
‘Told ’em … my intentions’
The police documents obtained by the Bailey Project give no indication Broussard knew what stories Bailey had written about the bakery or if he was working on one at the time of his death.
In a document summarizing the evidence to charge Broussard, Longmire wrote that Broussard said he killed Bailey because the journalist “slandered” Your Black Muslim Bakery in articles he had written for the Oakland Post.
But Broussard never said the word “slandered” during his recorded confession, nor do Longmire’s notes of the interrogation contain the word.
Bailey had never published a bylined article about the bakery or the Bey family for the Oakland Post.
His last bylined story about the Beys was published August 2004 in the Oakland Tribune, where Bailey as a staff writer. The article was about how former bakery CEO Waajid Aljawwaad’s body had been found buried in the Oakland hills.
What Broussard said during his recorded confession was that he’d seen Bailey’s photo “in an old newspaper story” and he’d heard the reporter discussed at the bakery.
Broussard didn’t explain in the recorded confession how he decided to target the journalist, nor did Longmire ask him for details.
Others interviewed by the Bailey Project said Bey IV knew that Bailey was working on a story about the bakery. The once prominent Oakland institution, founded in the 1970s by Bey IV’s father, Yusuf Bey, had fallen into bankruptcy.
Bailey’s confidential source for that story was Ali Saleem Bey, a former bakery corporate officer who was forced out after Yusuf Bey’s death.
Saleem Bey confirmed to the Tribune after Bailey’s death that he was a source for the story, which was scheduled to run Aug. 2.
Post Publisher Paul Cobb ordered Bailey to rework the story, which the Bailey Project has reviewed. It detailed the bakery’s bankruptcy and internal power struggle, a story that had already been told in other Bay Area media.
Saleem Bey said Bey IV called him three days before Bailey died and said: “Keep my name out of your mouth.” Saleem Bey said he took that to mean Bey IV knew he’d talked to Bailey.
Bey IV, in his first interrogation with Longmire, said he’d “heard rumors (Bailey) was doing stories” but only learned of the unpublished article after the killing.
He said he didn’t know Bailey, but didn’t like him by reputation. The journalist, he said, had “slandered” his late father by writing stories in the Tribune about child rape charges pending against him at the time of his death in 2003.
In a second interrogation, Bey IV told Longmire that Broussard had admitted to him that he killed Bailey because the journalist “was going to write bad things about the bakery, about you.”
The record does not indicate that Longmire ever asked Broussard how he knew Bailey was working on a story about the bakery, or whether he knew if Bailey had written earlier stories about the bakery.
Longmire should have pushed harder to figure out those details, said Thomas Nolan, a Boston University criminology professor and retired Boston police detective.
“It all needs to be fleshed out,” he said.
Nolan also said Longmire should have pressed harder to fill holes in Broussard’s account of how he learned where Bailey lived.
Broussard’s account was filled with inconsistencies. At one point, Broussard told Longmire he didn’t know where Bailey lived. Later, Broussard said he took Bey IV and another bakery associate, Antoine Mackey, by Bailey’s apartment the night before the shooting.
On the recording of the interrogation, Longmire did not press Broussard on the inconsistency.
Broussard also told Longmire that he went looking for Bailey’s apartment that night alone, but Bey IV had already told the detective that he and Mackey were in Bailey’s neighborhood with Broussard that night.
When Longmire told Broussard what Bey IV had said, Broussard changed his story. He said he took the two men by Bailey’s apartment building.
“I was just saying this is where Brother Chauncey Bailey stay at,” Broussard said. “And I told ’em, them were my intentions.”
Longmire didn’t ask him what those intentions were.
Freelance investigative reporter A.C. Thompson, San Francisco Bay Guardian Reporter G.W. Schulz, and San Francisco State University journalism student Andrew Palma contributed to this report. Bob Butler and Mary Fricker are freelance journalists. Reach Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thomas Peele and Josh Richman are reporters for Bay Area News Group-East Bay. Reach them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.