Chauncey Bailey Project

Commentary: Grand jury ratifies work of Chauncey Bailey Project

 A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Yusuf Bey IV, the scion of the defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery, on three counts of murder for ordering the killings of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in 2007, an Alameda County deputy district attorney announced,” the Chauncey Bailey Project reported on Wednesday. The news appeared as the project won honors from the National Association of Black Journalists and Columbia University.

“The indictment of Bey IV, 23, includes charges with special circumstances — allowing prosecutors to seek the death penalty against him. He allegedly told two of his followers that in exchange for killing Bailey, he would teach them how to file fraudulent loan applications that could reap hundreds of thousands of dollars,” according to the story by Thomas Peele, Bob Butler and Mary Fricker.

“The charges against Bey IV mark the first time in the nearly 40-year history of the former bakery started by his father, Yusuf Bey, that a person associated with it . . . faces murder accusations,” with the exception of other Devaughndre Broussard, 21, Bailey’s admitted killer. “Authorities, though, have long investigated the organization on suspicion that members killed for retribution and power, dating back decades ago to a forerunner of the organization in Southern California.”

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced on Tuesday it has named the Chauncey Bailey Project its 2009 Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award winner for Best Reporting of Racial Bias and Intolerance.

The award carries a $1,500 prize.

“The project is a unique collaboration between nearly three dozen Bay Area news outlets, freelance journalists, journalism schools, local and national media organizations, and funders. The Bailey Project has produced more than a 150 stories over the 20 months since the August 2007 murder,” the school explained.

NABJ announced that the project would receive its annual Community Service award. It had won NABJ’s “Best Practices” award last year.

“Thomas Peele, Mary Fricker, Bob Butler and the whole team deserve the highest recognition for their unwillingness to accept the institutional denial of justice in this case,” said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. “The tragedy that enveloped a black journalist and community icon called for a deep commitment to uncover the truth, and these individuals made a selfless pledge to honor his memory.””

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