Lead detective on Chauncey Bailey killing may be fired
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Police are moving to fire Sgt. Derwin Longmire in the wake of administrative findings that he compromised the investigation of journalist Chauncey Bailey’s August 2007 killing, according to a senior officer with knowledge of the situation.
Longmire was put on paid administrative leave late Monday. The decision to fire him will be the subject of a mandatory hearing before final action. He is also charged with insubordination.
Lt. Ersie Joyner, who supervised Longmire’s investigation of Bailey’s killing, and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Loman, who was then a captain and Joyner’s boss, face discipline for not properly supervising the Bailey case. Loman has been put on leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation involving sexual harassment.
Police spokesman Officer Jeffrey Thomason said he could only confirm that Longmire is on “paid administrative leave” pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings. “It is against state law to discuss personnel issues,” Thomason said, citing rules that keep police administrative matters secret from taxpayers.
Thomason said he also couldn’t discuss Joyner or Loman.
Investigators for both the department and the state Office of the Attorney General found Longmire’s relationship with the former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV was inappropriate.
The attorney general’s office recently concluded its investigation and forwarded its finding to the department, a city official said. A message left at the attorney general’s press office was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Bey IV is jailed awaiting trial on a slew of criminal charges and is suspected of ordering one of his followers, Devaughndre Broussard, to kill Bailey 20 months ago. Broussard’s trial is scheduled for next month.
Longmire’s attorney, Michael Rains, who also represents Joyner, did not return a message. Longmire could not be reached. Both Joyner and Longmire were transferred from homicide to patrol last year.
Longmire apparently did not document all his contacts with Bey IV, despite being ordered to because it was widely known in the department that he was “closely associated” with the bakery and the Bey family, an officer said Tuesday.
The Chauncey Bailey Project reported in October that Longmire failed to document in his case notes evidence that pointed to a conspiracy to kill Bailey involving Bey IV. The evidence not documented included a report on a tracking device hidden on Bey IV’s car that showed it parked outside Bailey’s apartment seven hours before the killing.
The Bailey Project also reported in October that Longmire talked to Bey IV in jail by phone at least twice last year. His case notes, in which the department procedure manual requires the recording of significant events, contain no entries since January 2008.
The calls were made months later. In one of them, Longmire said he would defend his friendship with Bey IV — charged with multiple felonies — despite criticism.
Documents also showed that Longmire interfered in a 2005 investigation of Bey IV for ransacking two liquor stores. Bey IV eventually pleaded guilty. The gun used to kill Bailey was stolen from one of the stores.
Prior to Broussard’s confession, Longmire left Bey IV alone with Broussard for seven minutes, not recording their conversation. Bey IV was later secretly taped saying he ordered Broussard to take blame for the killing and that Longmire was protecting him from charges.
An Oakland officer with deep investigative experience said, based on what he knows about Longmire’s actions, that dismissal from the force is warranted.
“Those are firing offenses. Everyone in the department knew there was a lot wrong with how this case was investigated,” the officer said.
“Not putting the tracking information in his notes” was a significant problem, the officer said. “That clearly showed that (Bey IV) was involved by driving Broussard to Bailey’s house hours before the killing.”
Both Broussard and Bey IV told police they were in the car when it was parked outside the apartment along with another man, Antoine Mackey.
Mayor Ron Dellums declined to be interviewed Tuesday, his spokesman, Paul Rose, said. In November, responding to Bailey Project reporting, the mayor asked for the state justice department to conduct a “concurrent parallel investigation” of an Oakland police probe of Longmire and promised “openness and transparency” in the process.
Councilman Igancio De La Fuente, who said he supported Dellums’ investigation, declined to comment Tuesday. Councilman Larry Reid, head of the public safety committee, also declined to comment.
Dellums in November also said former Superior Court Judge Henry Ramsey would serve in an oversight capacity of the investigation to ensure its integrity. But Ramsey on Monday night said he was never given job duties after one phone call with a member of the mayor’s staff.
Staff writer Kelly Rayburn and independent journalist Bob Butler contributed to this story. Reach Bay Area News Group investigative reporter Thomas Peele at firstname.lastname@example.org.