Chauncey Bailey Project

Officer James Saleda

Officer Jim Saleda, June 28, 2002 (SabreeHill/OaklandTribune)
Officer Jim Saleda, June 28, 2002 (SabreeHill/OaklandTribune)

Officer Jim Saleda, June 28, 2002 (SabreeHill/OaklandTribune)

Officer James Saleda was a 12-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department in June 2002 when a 34-year-old woman told him her 18-year-old daughter had been sexually abused by her father — Yusuf Ali Bey, the patriarch of the politically powerful and influential enterprise Your Black Muslim Bakery.

For 30 years there had been intermittent allegations to probation officers, police and others that Bey had raped young girls who came to live and work at the bakery, but no charges were ever filed. Saleda also listened to the mother’s own account of being raped by Bey as a girl, bearing three of his children when she was just 13, 15 and 17 years old.

And there was much, much more. In just three months, Saleda undertook a methodical investigation that included DNA samples, old police and probation reports, and interviews with four women who claimed they bore children as minors after Bey raped and impregnated them. He built a body of evidence that resulted in the 66-year-old leader’s arrest in September 2002 and enabled the district attorney to file 27 counts of felony sex crimes.

The case never went to trial, however, because Bey died of colon cancer in September 2003. Alameda County later reached a settlement with three of the four unidentified women — Jane Do 1, 2, 3 and 4 — who filed a civil suit charging that social workers left them in Bey’s care despite evidence that they had been impregnated.

Saleda was also a calvary scout in Iraq from 2003 to 2005. While in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Saleda was awarded the Bronze Star for service. He retired from the military in 2006, having served 13 years in the Navy and 14 years in the Army Reserve, and was part of a National Guard team that rescued dozens of people from torrential rains and floods in Sonoma County on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, 2005 and 2006.

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