Assistant Chief Howard Jordan
Assistant Chief Howard Jordan had been the Oakland Police Department’s public point man for information about the investigation of Your Black Muslim Bakery and the slaying of journalist Chauncey Bailey. In October 2007, however, Police Chief Wayne Tucker imposed a department-wide gag order.
Jordan, 42, was appointed last year to the newly created position of assistant chief in charge of day-to-day operations. He has risen through the ranks since joining the Oakland police in August 1988, winning confidence as one of the most experienced and respected commanders in the department. Some speculated he was being groomed to succeed Tucker.
But he and the detectives under his supervision have come under criticism for the interrogation of Bailey’s accused killer. The lead investigator, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, is friends with bakery CEO Yusuf Ali Bey IV, who was being detained on charges unrelated to Bailey’s murder. Longmire placed slaying suspect Devaughndre Broussard, a bakery handyman, alone in an interrogation room with Bey and did not record their conversation. Before then, Broussard had denied involvement in the Bailey slaying; afterward, he confessed to the crime. Longmire did record two conversations: Broussard’s initial confession and a discussion Longmire had with Bey about their longtime friendship.
Jordan has defended the failure to record Bey’s private conversation with Broussard and the propriety of assigning Longmire to the case as “unusual, but not unethical.” “I trust his integrity. I trust his credibility,” Jordan has said.
Jordan has also taken much of the criticism for the timing of the raid on the bakery, which came the day after Bailey was slain. The multi-agency raid involved an unrelated case of kidnapping and torture in May 2007. The search warrant wasn’t signed until July 30, four days before the raid. Among the weapons seized at bakery-associated properties was the shotgun used to kill Bailey.
Some have second-guessed the time it took to seek the search warrant — 2½ months after two women were abducted in an alleged extortion attempt and one was severely beaten and stabbed. Bakery associates and Bey family members were implicated by witnesses who saw the abduction and identified vehicles involved, as well as by cell phones and the vehicles left at the scene. But Jordan said investigators needed time to put together a strong case.