Chauncey Bailey Project

DA not planning to expand Bailey case

In a secretly recorded police video from Aug. 6, suspects being held in a torture and kidnapping case, Joshua Bey (left) and Tamon Halfin watch as Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV demonstrates the Aug. 2 killing of Chauncey Bailey. \"Pow, pow, poof,\" Bey IV says, throwing back his head. (Oakland Police Video)
In a secretly recorded police video from Aug. 6, suspects being held in a torture and kidnapping case, Joshua Bey (left) and Tamon Halfin watch as Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV demonstrates the Aug. 2 killing of Chauncey Bailey. \"Pow, pow, poof,\" Bey IV says, throwing back his head. (Oakland Police Video)

By Thomas Peele and Bob Butler, The Chauncey Bailey Project

There is no active investigation into whether Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV was an accessory in the Aug. 2 killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey, according to an interview Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff gave to a newspaper that covers legal news.

In an article published Wednesday, Orloff told the Recorder newspaper there is only “a marginal benefit to spending a lot of resources” to pursue charges against Bey IV in Bailey’s slaying, partly because the 22-year-old is already facing life imprisonment in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case.

The district attorney, a four-term Democrat, declined several requests for an interview with the Chauncey Bailey Project on Wednesday. His staff and the Oakland Police have repeatedly declined to discuss the case, saying that doing so would damage an ongoing investigation.

A bakery associate, Devaughndre Broussard, 20, is charged with killing Bailey and is awaiting trial. A trial date could be scheduled at a hearing July 25.

On June 19, The Chauncey Bailey Project, a collaboration of Bay Area journalists, reported on a secretly recorded police video in which Bey IV mocked Bailey’s death; said he had the shotgun used in the killing after it happened; and said that a detective with whom he is friendly, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, protected him from charges.

In three separate police interrogations, Bey IV told Longmire that he had nothing to do with the killing. He also denied involvement in a recent jailhouse interview with Bailey Project reporters.

The Recorder quoted Orloff as saying that if Bey IV weren’t already jailed, he would be more aggressively investigated in Bailey’s killing.

“If the aggravated kidnapping (case) did not exist, then “… there’d be more effort put into seeing what you can develop with a chargeable, provable case against” Bey IV, the newspaper quoted Orloff as saying.

As Orloff’s staff prepares to try Broussard “we’ll be watching what develops with reference” to new evidence against Bey IV.

But he said that there is not enough evidence to charge Bey IV with anything other than accessory after the fact to murder, a crime that carries a three-year sentence.

The newspaper reported that Orloff said that he believed Bey IV would plead guilty if charged with accessory to escape the possibility of facing more severe charges later under double jeopardy laws.

The Recorder article did not mention Bey IV’s claims on the videotape that Longmire, the lead detective in the Bailey case, has protected him from charges.

Bailey’s death was the most prominent attack on a journalist in the United States since 1976 and one of the most shocking slayings in Oakland history.

A masked gunman shot him three times as he walked to work at the Oakland Post, a weekly serving the East Bay’s African-American community where Bailey had recently been named editor.

Bailey, a veteran newspaper and television reporter, had been pursuing a story about the bakery’s recent fall into federal bankruptcy and internal chaos. It had not been published.

Broussard was arrested during a raid on the bakery the next morning. He confessed to the killing but later recanted.

Bey IV also was arrested in the raid and later charged in the May 21 kidnapping of two women and the torture of one of them. He was interrogated three times by Longmire about the Bailey slaying and eventually said Broussard had told him shortly after the shooting that he was responsible.

Longmire left Bey IV and Broussard alone in an interrogation room for seven minutes, after which Broussard confessed, according to police records. Longmire did not record Bey IV and Broussard’s conversation.

The secret police video was recorded Aug. 6 when Bey IV and kidnapping case co-defendants Joshua Bey and Tamon Halfin were left alone in a cell for 90 minutes. Police hoped they would implicate themselves in the kidnapping case.

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.” One criminal expert said there’s evidence on the video to charge Bey with more than being an accessory in Bailey’s killing.

“Seeing the remarks (Bey) made in the video, it certainly provides a basis for charging him, not as merely an accessory, but for the murder,” said Robert Weisberg, director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.

“It implicates him pretty heavily.”

Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group. Bob Butler is a freelance reporter. Reach them at tpeele@bayareanewsgroup.com and Bobbutler7@comcast.net. Staff writer Angela Hill contributed to this report.

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