By Thomas Peele, Bob Butler and Mary Fricker
The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — The lead detective assigned to investigate journalist Chauncey Bailey’s killing ignored evidence linking Yusuf Bey IV, former leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery, to a role in the killing and interfered in two other unrelated felony cases involving Bey IV, according to an investigation by the Chauncey Bailey Project.
The Bailey Project’s reporting has led to a police internal affairs investigation of that detective, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, and whether his relationship with Bey IV may have compromised the case.
Law enforcement officials said the investigation of the Bailey killing is in crisis.
If Longmire is charged with administrative or criminal wrongdoing, the chances of convicting the one person charged, Devaughndre Broussard, might be jeopardized.
At the same time, if a vigorous investigation of Bailey’s killing is not quickly undertaken, chances of ever charging others and fully solving the most prominent slaying of an American journalist since 1976 could be lost.
In a highly unusual move, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has launched its own investigation to determine whether there was a conspiracy to kill Bailey. The district attorney’s probe is independent of the Oakland police and two investigators have been assigned to the work. Usually a case has one investigator. Evidence the Bailey Project obtained during its lengthy investigation includes data from a tracking device hidden on Bey IV’s car that shows it outside Bailey’s apartment seven hours before the Aug. 2, 2007, killing. Police say Bey IV and Broussard both admitted to being in the vehicle at that time along with a third man who worked at the bakery, Antoine Mackey.
The Bailey Project could find no record that Oakland police officials ever analyzed Bey IV’s cell phone data. The Bailey Project, however, obtained and analyzed the records. Through police and court records and online databases, the Project identified the people associated with the numbers that Bey IV called, as well as the people who called Bey IV.
Those cell phone records show that Bey IV was on the phone with an acquaintance of Bailey while Bey IV, Mackey and Broussard were outside the residence. They also show Bey IV involved in a series of phone calls within minutes of the killing, including one to Mackey, who, like Broussard, is from San Francisco and who has a long juvenile and adult criminal record. Mackey is currently incarcerated on a burglary conviction.
Additionally, the Bailey Project learned that Bey IV has spoken with Longmire repeatedly from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where the bakery leader has been held on unrelated charges since his arrest in August, 2007.
Seven legal and criminal experts, including a retired superior court judge, a former prosecutor and a former police commissioner, reviewed documents for the Bailey Project and said that Longmire’s investigation raises questions about whether he was protecting Bey IV from charges, ignored involvement of others and instead, pinned all blame on Broussard, now 20, who worked at the bakery as a handyman and who confessed to the killing. He later recanted.
Bey IV, 22, has repeatedly denied involvement in Bailey’s killing.
District Attorney Tom Orloff, Oakland police Chief Wayne Tucker, Assistant Chief Howard Jordan, homicide unit commander Lt. Ersie Joyner and Longmire all rejected repeated requests for interviews for this story.
In past interviews, department leaders have defended Longmire’s investigation of the case and complimented his skilled interrogation in getting Broussard to confess. Joyner said Longmire was a fine detective doing excellent work. Jordan said it was unusual but not unethical for a lead investigator on a case to be friends with persons involved in it.
“I don’t have any problems with Sgt. Longmire’s relationship with members of the bakery,” Jordan said in a televised interview in February. “I trust his integrity. I trust his credibility.”
But former Santa Clara County Judge LaDoris Cordell said Longmire should have recused himself from the case and that department leaders should have seen the conflict. A detective who is friends with a person suspected in a killing “should have no involvement in the investigation at all,” she said.
The internal affairs probe of Longmire is also looking at a succession of calls made in the past four months. Bey IV calls the mother of his three children who then conferenced in Longmire on three-way calling, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the case.
The legal experts who reviewed Longmire’s case notes, recordings of interviews with Broussard and Bey IV, a report on the tracking device and other documents for the Bailey Project said the investigation is severely compromised.
“I felt from reading all of this, a sense of a bias, a bias on the part of Sgt. Longmire, in favor of … those involved with the bakery,” said Cordell. “I didn’t feel a sense (of) objectivity that I think has to be there for a competent investigation.”
Longmire’s case notes of the investigation is “suspiciously incomplete,” said Richard Leo, a University of San Francisco law professor and nationally recognized criminal expert.
“Is Longmire blind?” Leo said. “Journalists after the fact investigating a murder shouldn’t be discovering big pieces of seemingly inculpatory evidence of knowledge and involvement and participation in that murder (by uncharged people) that police knew about and didn’t thoroughly investigate and thoroughly document.”
A masked gunman shot Bailey, 57, three times on the morning of Aug. 2, 2007, near 14th and Alice streets as he walked toward his job at the Oakland Post newspaper. At the time of his death, he was working on several stories including one about internal strife within the Bey family and the bakery’s October 2006 filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
In a recorded interview on Aug. 3, 2007, Bey IV told Longmire that Broussard told him he killed Bailey because the journalist was going to “write bad things about the bakery.” Broussard, then 19, subsequently confessed to Longmire, saying he wanted to be “a real strong” Muslim soldier and that he acted alone. Broussard has also implicated himself in a series of jailhouse telephone calls that he made to friends and relatives. He said several times that Bey IV “told on me.”
At the same time, he has publicly recanted his confession, saying Bey IV ordered him to admit guilt to protect the bakery.
Others associated with the bakery have said Bey IV’s followers didn’t act independently.
A person arrested during an Aug. 3, 2007 raid of the bakery made a phone call from jail that police recorded.
“Everybody knows, even the police know, that they don’t do nothing unless (Bey IV) tells them,” that person said to a relative, according to a copy of the recording, which was obtained by the Bailey Project. The person is not being identified out of safety concerns.
The Bailey Project has also learned that police have a statement from another bakery associate who said Bey IV called a meeting the night before the killing. He ordered his followers to pray for strength, said two police officers knowledgeable of the statement.
The bakery associate told police that Bey IV, Mackey and Broussard also prayed together separately and complained that they had to wake at 5 a.m. the next day. After the killing, there was a mood of celebration at the bakery, the associate told police. Officers asked that the person’s name not be revealed, saying disclosure could endanger the person’s life.
In recorded jailhouse phone calls with relatives, Broussard has alluded to the involvement of others in the killing. In one recording, Broussard said “Mackey had the sawed-off,” in an apparent reference to the shotgun used to kill Bailey. Two of those relatives — both uncles with long criminal records — repeatedly admonished Broussard not to inform on others, according to the recordings obtained by the Bailey Project. Bey IV has said he had the shotgun, too.
On a secretly recorded police video, disclosed in June by the Bailey Project, Bey IV told two of his other followers that he put the gun used to kill Bailey in his closet after the shooting. On the recording, Bey IV mocked the fatal blast to the journalist’s head and bragged that Longmire was protecting him from charges.
Police recorded that video four days after Bailey’s killing to gather evidence in a case in which Bey IV is accused of leading four followers in the kidnapping and torture of two women. As soon as detectives in that case saw that the video also contained statements about Bailey, they turned over the tape to homicide investigators, according to detectives familiar with the case.
But like the tracking-device report, Longmire never documented the video’s existence in his case notes and never challenged Bey IV about it in two subsequent jailhouse interviews after it was taped.
The department’s procedures for felony investigations require that detectives’ case notes reflect “the inclusion of any additional documents or evidence discovered during the investigation, including the location, date and time the item was discovered.”
Ignoring the tracking report, the video and failing to analyze the cell phone records are the biggest indicators that Longmire did not thoroughly investigate the killing, said Cordell, the retired judge.
Longmire failed to “put together the pieces (of) what happened,” she said. “The red flag was waving and waving … but either he wasn’t paying attention or decided he didn’t want to see it.”
In his case notes, Longmire reported that police ordered a fingerprint analysis of the shotgun used in the killing. But then he never documented in his case notes receiving it.
In nearly two decades on the Santa Clara County bench, Cordell said she has read “thousands and thousands of police reports. It’s rare (to) come across one that is so lacking in follow-up, so lacking in areas that ought to be delved into.”
The phone records could be the key to unraveling a conspiracy, said former Boston police Lieutenant Thomas Nolan. But Longmire didn’t document any analysis of Bey IV’s calls around the time of the killing, nor do his case notes show he attempted to subpoena Mackey or Broussard’s phone records. He also didn’t document any analysis of the phone belonging to Bey IV’s girlfriend, which was seized during the raid. Notes taken from its address book contained names and numbers key to understanding Bey IV’s phone records.
The Bailey Project, however, used that information to reconstruct and analyze calls to and from Bey IV’s phone in the crucial hours before and after Bailey’s killing.
“Cell phone records are an invaluable source of information about placing people in associations with other people who you know or suspect to be involved,” said Nolan, now a Boston University criminologist. “I mean, this is criminal investigation 101.”
“A true believer”
Longmire has a long history with the bakery. He has been an Oakland police officer for more than 20 years and investigated the 2005 murder of Bey IV’s brother and predecessor as bakery leader, Antar Bey. During that time, the detective got to know Bey IV. Bey IV’s former lawyer, Lorna Brown, said Longmire tried to be an older brother to him.
A detective familiar with Longmire described him as a “true believer” in the former bakery’s philosophy of African-American self-reliance.
Two other law enforcement members familiar with Longmire agreed with that assessment.
Despite that relationship, which was widely known in the department, Longmire’s supervisors, homicide Lt. Ersie Joyner and then Criminal Investigation Division Captain Jeff Loman, let him take the lead in the Bailey case even though the bakery was implicated within 11 hours of the killing.
Joyner, in an April interview, said Longmire’s relationship with bakery members reflected department policy that officers know the community. Joyner pointed to Loman, now a deputy chief, as an example, saying he met people at the bakery when he worked in North Oakland.
But the relationship between Longmire and the Bey family seemed to trouble another homicide detective. Homicide Sgt. Lou Cruz, assigned to write one of the search warrants for the Aug. 3, 2007 raid on the bakery, did the work at home to keep Longmire ignorant, said two officers familiar with Cruz’s actions. “Cruz was worried about Longmire,” one of them said. Cruz did not return a call requesting an interview.
In the first of two recorded interviews with Longmire on Aug. 3, 2007, Bey IV described the detective as “always patronizing our bakery,” calling him “a supporter.” Longmire didn’t dispute the characterizations, according to a recording of the conversation.
On a Web site called freethebakerybrothers.org that bakery supporters started this year, Bey IV is quoted as saying he and Longmire, whose picture is posted on the site, “have no special friendship, we respect each other as brothers.”
The evidence not documented in Longmire’s case notes and his relationship with Bey IV shows, “this case is completely screwed up,” said an Oakland detective who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal.
“Everybody’s worried about it.”
“Did you go …”
Eleven hours after the killing — Longmire was told that a ballistic test found that two spent 12-gauge shells recovered next to Bailey’s body were fired from a shotgun used in a Dec. 6, 2006, of a car belonging to a man who had a dispute with Bey IV.
No charges were filed in that shooting, but police suspected Bey IV’s involvement.
At 5 a.m. on Aug. 3, 2007, police raided the bakery to arrest Bey IV and others in the kidnapping case. The operation had been planned for days.
As 200 officers swarmed the complex, Broussard threw a shotgun out of a window and was taken into custody. Police determined the shotgun was used to kill Bailey.
Less than four hours after the raid, documents show, Longmire learned that a tracking device placed on Bey IV’s car by detectives working the kidnapping case showed it was parked outside Bailey’s apartment just seven hours before the killing.
“I informed (Longmire) of all the highlights,” Officer Eric K. Huesman wrote in a report. He told Longmire that the tracking device showed Bey IV’s Dodge Charger left the bakery on San Pablo Avenue at 12:12 a.m. on Aug. 2 and arrived at the 1400 block of 1st Avenue — where Bailey lived — at 12:24 a.m.
The car was parked there for about 14 minutes then was driven back to the bakery, the report states.
But Longmire never wrote in his case notes that he spoke with Huesman. Nor did he document the existence of the tracking report. The experts who reviewed Longmire’s case notes said the department procedures require that they be included.
Longmire never mentioned the tracking report in two recorded interviews with Bey IV. And Bey IV denied being near Bailey’s apartment.
Longmire: “… the area where Mr. Bailey lives, did you go to that area where he lives?” Longmire asked Bey IV.
Bey IV: “I didn’t go to that area, no sir.”
Rather, Bey IV said he, Broussard and Mackey went to get food that night at a restaurant on Park Boulevard, about a half mile from Bailey’s apartment. The restaurant was closed, Bey IV said, and he said they just returned to the bakery.
“You don’t have a case of this magnitude and don’t put (the tracking data) in your (report) and ask (Bey IV) questions about it. This demands further investigation,” said a senior law enforcement official familiar with the case who asked not to be identified because of daily contact with Oakland police.
Later that night, a prosecutor and an investigator from the district attorney’s office interviewed Bey IV, who several more times denied going to Bailey’s apartment, repeating his story about a closed restaurant.
The district attorney’s investigators then confronted Bey IV with the tracking data, according to a recording of the interview.
Bey IV changed his story, saying he did go to the apartment with Mackey and Broussard, but he said he did so only because Broussard wanted to show him where Bailey lived. Bey IV said Broussard didn’t say anything about planning a killing.
Documents show that Longmire later interviewed Bey IV two more times. But in neither discussion did he ask about the tracking device, according to his brief notes.
Selective case notes
On Aug. 24, Longmire requested a warrant for Bey IV’s cell phone records.
In his affidavit requesting the warrant, Longmire wrote that he thought Bey IV might have called Bailey and tried to lure him to a place where he could be killed. He also wrote that Bey IV was “disingenuous” to say he went to the closed restaurant rather than Bailey’s apartment shortly after midnight on Aug. 2.
Longmire did not mention the tracking device in the affidavit — which confirmed where Bey IV was — or that Bey IV had changed his story when the district attorney’s investigators pressured him and admitted he had gone to the apartment.
A judge approved the warrant and sealed it at Longmire’s request.
The Sprint phone company turned over the records on Sept. 21, documents show. The records covered the period from July 1 to Aug. 10, 2007, and totaled 4,478 calls to and from Bey IV’s phone.
But Longmire didn’t record their receipt in his case notes until a month later, on Oct. 21. Longmire never mentioned the records again in any of his case notes — not even to document that he checked to see whether Bey IV had called Bailey. The records show no such call from Bey IV’s phone.
The records show four calls exchanged between Bey IV’s and Longmire’s cell phones on July 17, 2007. There were also three calls from Bey IV’s phone to Longmire’s after Bey IV’s Aug. 3, 2007, arrest in the kidnapping case. The phone was not seized in the raid and apparently someone else was using it.
The records, which the Bailey Project analyzed, list calls that raise questions about Bey IV’s involvement.
During the 14 minutes he was outside Bailey’s apartment early Aug. 2, Bey IV received two calls from a person who had known Bailey for more than a decade — JR Valrey, a blogger and activist then reporting for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, where Bailey sometimes contributed news items. Valrey is also affiliated with New America Media, a sponsor of the Chauncey Bailey Project.
The records show that Bey IV called Valrey twice on Aug. 1, and that Valrey called Bey IV twice while Bey IV was parked outside Bailey’s apartment on Aug. 2. The two calls totaled 2 minutes and 18 seconds. Six minutes after leaving Bailey’s apartment, Bey IV called Valrey at 12:43 a.m. That call lasted nearly three minutes, the records show.
Before the series of calls on Aug. 1 and 2, Bey IV’s phone records don’t show any calls between Bey IV and Valrey for the previous month.
Valrey refused to discuss the calls with the Bailey Project. “(It’s) none of your business,” he said, and refused to answer other questions. “I don’t have nothing to say to you, man,” he said. “You all are the anti-bakery project.” In Internet postings, Valrey has written that Bey IV had nothing to do with Bailey’s killing. There is no documentation to suggest that police interviewed Valrey.
Longmire should have pored over the records to see who Bey IV was on the phone with while at Bailey’s apartment and immediately followed the lead, said Leo, the University of San Francisco law professor.
Former San Francisco prosecutor Jim Hammer, who won murder convictions in the infamous 2001 dog mauling death of lacrosse coach Diane Whipple, agreed.
Bey IV’s phone records are “really great stuff, I mean, that’s powerful evidence,” he said. “Phone calls in the early hours of the morning, within hours of a homicide, while someone possibly involved was parked near there … I’d want to know exactly who (Bey IV) talked to, what was said, was this an unusual phone call?”
After leaving Bailey’s apartment, Bey IV, Mackey and Broussard returned to the bakery at 12:49 a.m., according to the tracking report. The phone records show connected calls between Bey IV’s phone and Mackey’s seven times from 12:56 to 3:38 a.m.
As dawn approached on Aug. 2, the records show calls between Mackey’s phone and Bey IV’s phone at 5:03 a.m. and 5:22 a.m.
Sometime between 5:30 and 6 a.m., a man living at the bakery, Rigoberto Magana, loaned his white minivan with no license plates to Bey IV. Magana told Bey IV that he needed the vehicle back by 7:30 a.m. so he could go to work, according to a statement Magana later gave to investigators from the district attorney’s office.
Bailey was killed about 7:25 a.m. Witnesses said they saw a masked gunman get in the passenger side of a waiting white mini van with no license plates that then sped off.
The phone records show that Magana called Bey IV’s phone at 7:25 and 7:28 a.m.
At 7:30, Bey IV’s phone called Mackey’s and was connected for 54 seconds, the records show. Bey IV then immediately called Magana back.
According to Magana’s statement, he told Longmire that he saw Mackey driving the van that morning. He later changed his story, telling the investigators that what he meant to say was that whenever he loaned Bey IV the van, it was Mackey who drove it, but that he didn’t see Mackey drive it that morning.
Bey IV offered Longmire two differing accounts of how he learned of the shooting. First, he said, he received a phone call from the bakery’s business manager, telling him someone prominent had been killed in Oakland. But the phone records show no such call to Bey IV’s cell phone.
But later, he said in a second recorded conversation that Broussard came to him and said he needed to show him something downtown. Bey IV, Broussard and Mackey then drove to the scene in Bey IV’s Dodge Charger. The tracking device report shows Bey’s IV’s car arriving at the murder scene at 8:09 a.m.
During interviews with Longmire, Bey IV said that Broussard admitted the killing to him.
Longmire asked Bey IV if he thought Broussard would be honest if Bey IV instructed him to be, according to the recording. Longmire brought Broussard into the interrogation room. By doing so, Longmire “essentially deputized” Bey IV as an agent of the police, rather than treating him as a murder suspect, Leo said.
Then, at Broussard’s request, Longmire left Broussard and Bey IV alone for six minutes. Longmire didn’t record their conversation, which Leo said is a breach of good detective work.
“There’s absolutely no investigative rationale for not surreptitiously recording (it). None at all. We’re deprived of a very, very important piece of information in this case. What did Bey IV say to elicit Broussard’s confession? Did he use improper threats and promises? Did he badger and bully him?”
Before leaving Bey IV and Broussard alone, Longmire told Bey IV he had “no ambition to attach you to (Bailey’s) murder,” according to a recording of the conversation.
Cordell, the retired judge, said that statement troubled her.
“What (Longmire) is saying is ‘I’m not going to look at you, you’re not a suspect’ and for whatever reason and I don’t know the sergeant’s motivation,” she said.
“Is he just a lousy investigator? I don’t think so because you don’t get promoted to sergeant by being a lousy investigator. So the question it raises with me why is (Bey IV) not a suspect?”
Jeffrey Snipes, a lawyer and police consultant who chairs the San Francisco State University Criminology Department, said it was clear to him from listening to Longmire’s recorded conversations with Bey IV and Broussard that the detective had but one goal — to charge only Broussard regardless of what the evidence indicated about others.
“Every party involved here had their script established, and everything followed the script,” Snipes said. “And the script was, we’re going to clear this case, and we’re going to clear it by giving up Broussard, and we’re going to get Bey IV out of this (and) we’re going to keep Mackey out of it.”
COMING TOMORROW: Sgt. Derwin Longmire has been accused of interfering in past investigations involving Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV.
Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group. Bob Butler and Mary Fricker are independent journalists. Reach them at Tpeele@bayareanewsgroup.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
The following reporters contributed to this story: Josh Richman of the Bay Area News Group, Will Evans of The Center for Investigative Reporting, Andrew Palma of San Francisco State University, Roland De Wolk of KTVU-TV, independent journalists Ethan Harp, Ronnie Cohen, G.W. Schultz, and Gene Durnell and student intern Marguerite Davenport.