Chauncey Bailey Project

Paul Cobb

Paul Cobb is publisher of the Oakland Post, and Chauncey Bailey was his editor. Bailey was investigating the finances of Your Black Muslim Bakery, and related stories, including allegations of police corruption, when he was murdered not far from the Post’s offices in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2, 2007.

In January 2008, Cobb came under police protection after learning of threats to his life. Cobb has been critical of the police investigation and suggested that the U.S. Justice Department needed to take over the probe to investigate suspicions that officers may have been complicit in Bailey’s murder. He pointed out that the lead investigator has a friendship with the bakery’s CEO, Yusuf Ali Bey IV; that he placed Bailey’s alleged killer, Devaughndre Broussard, in an interrogation room with Bey, his employer; and that Broussard later changed his story and confessed.

Cobb has also criticized the Chauncey Bailey Project for concentrating on the bakery members’ activities, rather than on the police.

In the months since Bailey’s slaying, Cobb said advertising had declined significantly and he was having difficulty hiring an editor to replace Bailey. One prospect, he said, asked for a $500,000 life insurance policy.

Cobb, a West Oakland community organizer and former Sunday columnist for the Oakland Tribune, bought the 45-year-old paper in 2004 with high hopes of being the first African American weekly to win a Pulitzer Prize. He was once a reporter for the Post, beginning when he was a student at Pacific Union College. The Post provided him and three friends with press credentials for the historic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. Later, he was its religion editor. Cobb said he considered his purchase of the newspaper from Velda Berkley, widow of founder Tom Berkley, as coming full circle in his career.

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