They were the youthful heirs to a multimillion-dollar business empire that offered jobs, faith and a sense of discipline to the poorest of Oakland's poor.
But in a three-year reign of violence and crime that police say culminated in the Aug. 2 assassination of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, the new generation destroyed Oakland's Your Black Muslim Bakery, a prominent and controversial symbol of black empowerment founded by the charismatic Yusuf Ali Bey.
Since Bey's death in 2003, the neatly dressed, heavily armed young men who ascended to power in the bakery's hierarchy have been implicated in assault, intimidation, theft, fraud, kidnapping, torture and, finally, homicide, court records show.
The day after the killing of Bailey, who had been researching stories about the bakery, police raided its San Pablo Avenue headquarters.
They arrested Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Bey IV, 21, the founder's son and namesake, on kidnapping charges, and booked a member of his entourage for Bailey's murder. The bakery itself is bankrupt and its assets up for sale.
Oakland police had long believed that the bakery's members were terrorizing the community, but said they were unable to act. "That happened over and over again - there were allegations of either force or intimidation, but not many wanted to give us formal statements or pursue prosecution," said former Oakland Police Chief Richard Word. "People were afraid."
As a consequence, he said, bakery members began to feel as if they were untouchable. "There was an aura of invincibility," he said.
The beginning of the end for the bakery arrived in the form of a sex scandal that engulfed its founder in the months before his death, according to court documents and interviews.
The elder Yusuf Bey's 2002 arrest on charges of raping young girls exposed the bakery to allegations of terrible wrongdoing. His death from cancer while awaiting trial left a power vacuum that his heirs fought to fill.
That rift within the family and the bakery's subsequent financial troubles were the subject of Bailey's investigation, said Paul Cobb, publisher of the Post.
Some say the organization's violent collapse was a natural consequence of years of secrecy, crime and corruption, beginning with Bey himself and taken to extremes by his sons.
"Yusuf Bey had a criminal enterprise long before any of this came up," said lawyer David Washington, who represented three women who accused Bey of rape.
"These young guys think they are the rightful heirs of their father's legacy. They're trying to do some of the things their father did. But they don't have the sophistication to get away with it."
Oakland police Lt. Ersie Joyner, head of the homicide detail, said the young leaders who emerged after Bey's death were "a whole new element," infatuated with "force, fear, domination."
"They clearly took on the legacy that the ends justified the means, by any means necessary," Joyner said.
A Business Empire
For three decades, the tough, controlling Yusuf Bey built a thriving network of businesses in Oakland: seven bakery outlets, serving the signature fish sandwiches and tofu burgers; security guard companies; a property management firm; even a school. At the bakery's headquarters he was a familiar presence, wearing fez, bow tie and suit, trailed by a phalanx of trim, silent young men.
Bey's rigid black separatist philosophy, based on the ideas of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and espoused on his weekly cable television show, wasn't for everybody. Critics said Bey preached hatred of white people. His 1994 campaign for mayor collapsed after he was blamed for bringing an anti-Semitic speaker to a rally.
Nevertheless, Bey had won respect - and the praise of many Oakland officials - for providing employment and a disciplined lifestyle to hundreds of ex-convicts, at-risk youth and poor African Americans. He even cleaned up storefronts and fed the hungry.
But in 2002, a girl named in court papers as Jane Doe 3 went to the police and said Bey had raped her. Her allegations, contained in court records, provided a chilling glimpse of life within the bakery.
Doe 3 said she had gone to a meeting at the bakery in 1994 and asked Bey for a job. Soon she was working at the tofu bar in the bakery headquarters. There, she said she later learned, Bey could watch her every move on a security camera that fed her image to a monitor in his upstairs bedroom.
In a lawsuit filed years later, the girl said that one day she was told to deliver some books to Bey's apartment. In an account that Bey denied, she said that while two aides stood guard outside the door, Bey raped her and choked her when she tried to scream. She said he also forced her to perform oral sex, sodomized her and even made her drink his urine.
Then she said he threatened to kill her if she told what had happened and sent her back to work. When she tried to call for help from a pay phone, Bey saw her on the security camera and co-workers forced her to hang up, she said.
After that, the girl learned Bey had many "wives" - girls and young women associated with the bakery with whom he fathered about 40 children. She claimed the abuse continued weekly over a period of years before she finally broke away.
Other girls at the bakery were subjected to the same treatment, she claimed. Once, she said in the complaint, she saw one of Bey's young daughters run from the bakery compound crying that her father had raped her. She said two of Bey's aides, armed with handguns, dragged her back.
Jane Doe 3 said she had reason to fear Bey's bodyguards, who the civil suit refers to as "his henchmen." In 1994, the year she came to the bakery, four members of Bey's bakery "family" were charged with imprisoning, torturing and beating a man, whom they suspected of cheating one of them in a real estate deal.
Doe 3 was one of four women who told authorities they had been raped repeatedly by Bey when they were teens. Two were sisters who had been placed as foster children with Bey's wife when they were ages 10 and 12. They said Bey began abusing them soon after they arrived. DNA tests showed that Bey was the father of four children born to the sisters when they were between the ages of 13 and 16, according to court filings.
The fear the young girls expressed then was something police knew well about the group, said former Chief Word.
He said investigators long saw the hidden side of the bakery - that some of its members stood for intimidation, violence and even murder to get what they wanted. Proving it was another matter.
"People felt that they would take matters into their own hands," said Word, who after a 20-year career with the department left Oakland in 2004 to become chief of Vacaville police.
In 2002, Bey was charged with 27 counts of sexual assault for abusing the four girls. Bey denied wrongdoing, and many charges were dropped because the courts ruled the statute of limitations had run out. He died of colon cancer while awaiting trial.
The scandal plunged the bakery organization into turmoil, subjecting it to devastating publicity. Soon after Bey's death, his followers began fighting over who would take charge.
In July 2004, a woman walking her dog found a human femur sticking out of the dirt near a fire trail in the East Oakland hills. The discovery marked the next violent chapter of the bakery's story.
Police dug up a decomposed body wrapped in a plastic tarp and bound with electrical tape. It was all that was left of Bey's handpicked successor, Waajid Aljawwaad Bey.
Aljawwaad, 51, was a former restaurant waiter named Carl Hambrick who got an accounting degree at Golden Gate University in 1991 and then went to work at the bakery. He became Bey's chief business adviser. Bey "spiritually adopted" Aljawwaad, a family member said, and he added the Bey surname to his Muslim name.
Aljawwaad guided the growth of the business. When Bey was arrested, Aljawwaad arranged his bail, a family member said. The accountant generally avoided controversy, but the month before Yusuf Bey's death, the owner of a barbecue restaurant accused Aljawwaad and other Black Muslims of beating him because he refused to stop serving pork. No charges were filed.
On his deathbed, Bey named Aljawwaad president of the bakery and its related businesses. Then, on Feb. 27, 2004, just five months after the elder Bey's death, Aljawwaad didn't show up for work.
"When Waajid disappeared, our family was frantic," said Saleem Bey, a son-in-law of Yusuf Bey. "We called the police and checked the hospitals and the jails."
No arrests have been made in the case, but police "believe he was slain by members of the bakery," Lt. Joyner said.
After Aljawwaad disappeared, a new faction took control of the bakery in what some family members now call a "hijacking" of the business, according to Saleem Bey, a loyal follower of Yusuf Bey who adopted the family name.
The new leader was Antar Bey, 22, a son of Yusuf Bey who had been part of his father's security entourage in the tense days after the rape arrest. Three days after Aljawwaad went missing, Antar Bey claimed he had been elected the new chief executive officer of the organization - at a board meeting that rival family members contend never happened.
A family feud soon broke out and spilled over into court. Bey's children and other followers who considered themselves adopted heirs sued one another over everything from ownership of the bakery's real estate to the right to live in the late Yusuf Bey's old apartment.
Saleem Bey, a leader of a rival faction, accused Antar Bey of looting the Bey family corporation, seizing control of its real estate and bank accounts, and firing 60 Bey family members from their bakery jobs.
In June 2004, Farieda Bey, Yusuf Bey's widow, obtained a restraining order against Antar Bey, accusing him of sending two men to "break in a door and change locks" to force her out of the apartment above the bakery. Antar Bey hadn't threatened her, "but he has guns," she wrote in court filings. "This case is about real estate and not about violence," replied Antar Bey in a court filing.
Farieda Bey also sued Antar Bey for real estate fraud, charging that he had taken two properties that were supposed to be hers. Family members said she had filed that suit with the encouragement of John Bey, another adopted son of Yusuf Bey and the head of one of the organization's security companies.
In June 2005, a year after the lawsuit was filed, John Bey was wounded by four gunmen who ambushed him as he pulled out of the driveway of his Montclair home.
"They pumped 30 bullet holes into his car," said Saleem Bey. "He had a bullet in his thigh and buckshot in his shoulder." No arrests were made.
Antar Bey's leadership ended abruptly. In October 2005, he was shot to death at a North Oakland gas station. Police said the gunman was trying to carjack his $80,000 BMW. The suspect, who went on trial recently, has no known connection to the bakery dispute, authorities said.
A Namesake Ascends
One month after Antar Bey's murder, Oakland got a shocking look at the bakery's next leader - captured in grainy detail on a security camera and rebroadcast repeatedly on the nightly news.
In the blue-toned video footage, men in bow ties and suits stampeded through an Oakland liquor store, smashing wine cases, knocking groceries off the shelves. Two Muslim-owned stores were targeted because they sold alcohol in the black community, a participant later admitted in court.
Authorities said the attacks were directed by Yusuf Bey IV, then 19, son and namesake of the bakery founder, the bakery's latest CEO and spiritual leader, and brother of Antar Bey.
"If you say you're a Muslim, you should have the action of a Muslim," Bey IV told an online journalist with New America Media not long after the attacks. Selling alcohol was "killing our people," he said.
The trashing of the liquor stores was the first in a series of crimes ascribed to Bey IV and his followers, mostly young men with minor criminal records.
In January 2006, Bey IV was arrested in Vallejo for using a false ID to obtain a no-money-down loan to buy a $55,000 Mercedes-Benz the month before.
In April 2006, during a night of partying in San Francisco, one of Bey IV's entourage groped a stripper at the VIP Room of the New Century Theater, police said.
Bey IV and his followers were ejected, and a fight broke out on the street outside the club. Driving a BMW with the personalized plates, "Dr. Bey," Bey IV allegedly tried to run down a nightclub bouncer. He was charged with attempted murder and freed on bail.
In August 2006, Vallejo police said they found an unregistered 9mm handgun in Bey IV's car after he was caught trying to open a savings account with a forged driver's license. Again, he made bail.
Then, in January of this year, Bey IV was arrested again, this time for shoplifting condoms in a North Oakland drug store. In the shoplifting case, his brother, Yusuf Bey V, was found in possession of a machine pistol.
In the meantime, police said Bey IV and his associates had gone on a buying binge, using false IDs to finance and purchase used luxury cars, including an Infiniti, a Jaguar, an Acura, and a Pontiac Firebird. Records show Bey IV and at least one associate also bought five East Bay houses, using subprime, no-money-down loans and false identities. Some of the loans quickly went into default because no one ever made a house payment.
Bey IV got "some bad financial advice about how much you can borrow, how much you can get away with," said Lorna Brown, longtime lawyer for the Bey family.
"The view was, 'We're Black Muslims, we can do anything we want,' " she said. "They got sucked in. I thought it was 'acting out' behavior. But it caused just a whirlwind of trouble."
None of the cases against Yusuf Bey IV has been fully resolved.
Even when he was convicted, he managed to stay out of jail. After Bey IV pleaded "no contest" to felony charges in the Vallejo car-theft and forgery cases, a Solano County judge said he would have to serve eight months in jail. But court records show the judge allowed Bey IV to remain free until after his trial on the San Francisco case involving the bouncer.
As Bey IV, whose father and family had long been represented by Brown, told an officer after his shoplifting arrest this year: "We have the best lawyers. That's why I'm not in jail."
On the night of May 17, police contend that Bey IV orchestrated his most calculated crime to date: the kidnapping of a mother and daughter as they drove home from a night of bingo.
A Ford Crown Victoria with flashing lights like those of a police car pulled the women over on Interstate 580 in Oakland. Three masked men abducted the women, pulled bags over their heads and drove them to a vacant East Oakland home.
Inside, two of the men hit the younger woman with a baseball bat and threatened to burn her with gasoline, apparently because they thought she knew where a wealthy drug dealer kept his money.
The attack ended when a police officer drove by and spotted the Crown Victoria, thinking it belonged to a plainclothes officer.
At the sight of the police, the kidnappers fled, leaving behind one of their cell phones, two cars used in the kidnapping and the victims. Police used this evidence to link Yusuf Bey IV and others to the crime.
The month after the kidnapping, Bey IV failed to appear for a court hearing for the San Francisco assault on the bouncer. A judge issued a $375,000 warrant for his arrest.
Financial Free Fall
By October 2006, the empire built by Yusuf Bey was in financial free fall. Antar Bey had mortgaged the bakery's headquarters for $625,000, and Yusuf Bey IV wasn't making payments. The bakery owed the Internal Revenue Service more than $200,000 in back taxes.
Bey IV filed for bankruptcy, hoping to fend off his creditors.
"I admit that I am young and inexperienced in the business world," he told the judge.
The same family members who had accused Antar Bey of looting the family corporation tried to head off the bankruptcy. They feared that the judge might order an auction of the bakery's assets - property that they claimed belonged to the whole family - to pay off the huge debts run up by Antar Bey and Yusuf Bey IV.
Saleem Bey said he urged Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums to intervene. "I've been yelling this at the top of my lungs for so long that I'm hoarse," he said.
In July, Saleem Bey said he also went to Bailey at the Oakland Post, asking him to write an exposé about the alleged misappropriations and the bankruptcy case.
Bailey was well known to followers of Yusuf Bey. He had written dozens of stories about the bakery during his years as a reporter at the Oakland Tribune. Saleem Bey said he had hoped to speak confidentially to the editor, but within days, Yusuf Bey IV had learned of their meeting.
The Post never published Bailey's story. On Aug. 2, while walking to work in downtown Oakland, Bailey was accosted by a man in a ski mask and shot three times with a shotgun. Witnesses said the gunman fled in a waiting van.
Cousins and Brothers
Three days before Bailey's slaying, Oakland police had obtained a warrant authorizing a search of the bakery's headquarters. They planned to deploy a SWAT team and bomb-detection units to obtain evidence to solve a long list of crimes, including the kidnappings.
At 5 a.m. the morning after Bailey's slaying, dozens of officers in riot gear descended on the bakery's compound on San Pablo Avenue, smashing through doors to get inside. They also raided three residences.
As police stormed one targeted home, they said a bakery handyman named Devaughndre Broussard threw a shotgun out a window. Tests linked the gun to Bailey's slaying, police later said.
Bey IV was arrested and charged with a long list of offenses, including kidnapping the two women. If convicted, he could be imprisoned for life. Also arrested for the kidnapping were Tamon Halfin, who had pleaded no contest in the vandalism of the liquor stores, and Joshua Bey, 19, a son of Yusuf Bey Sr. by one of the rape victims.
Broussard, 19, was arrested for Bailey's slaying. He confessed to the crime after a jailhouse meeting with Bey IV. Broussard's lawyer says his client made a false confession and was "taking the fall" for Bey IV. Police say they don't believe Broussard acted alone. Documents show that police have information that at least one other bakery member drove the van used in the crime.
The attorney representing Bey IV on the kidnapping charges, Ted Johnson, did not respond to requests for comment. He earlier told reporters that Bey IV had nothing to do with Bailey's killing. Brown, who represents Bey IV in the liquor store, bouncer assault and Vallejo cases, has said those charges are overblown.
Washington, the lawyer who represented the three women who complained of rape, now finds himself representing Joshua Bey in the kidnapping case.
Washington said his client had kept in touch with the bakery, even though his mother wanted him to stay away.
"The kids kind of idolized the bakery. This was a great thing that their father had done: to start a business and all that," said Washington.
But the sex case had created strange psychological twists for the younger generation, according to the lawyer.
"The inappropriate sexual conduct certainly affected them," Washington said, adding that some members of the bakery's younger generation "are cousins and brothers at the same time."
After the raid, Saleem Bey faulted police for not stepping in earlier and, maybe, preventing Bailey's death.
"The question is how long did the police know the bakery was under the control of this violent faction and why did they allow it to continue?" he said.
But Lt. Joyner said the Oakland police had been vigorous. Since Bey IV came to power, several bakery employees had been arrested on gun charges, he said.
Joyner said some of the men would come to court until they were found guilty. Then, before being sentenced, they would jump bail.
"They felt they were untouchable - they walked around, knowing that they were wanted by law enforcement," he said. "They didn't care."
Patriarch of Oakland's Your Black Muslim Bakery organization.
PERSONAL: Born in Texas as Joseph Stevens, he joined the Nation of Islam, founded Your Black Muslim Bakery in 1971. Praised by politicians for providing jobs for poor people, ex-convicts, at-risk youth. His other businesses included security guards, property management.
BACKGROUND: Fathered more than 40 children. He was the host of "True Solutions," a religious and political cable TV show, and won 5 percent of the vote in his 1994 campaign for Oakland mayor.
KEY EVENTS: In 2002, Bey was charged with raping four young girls. Many charges were dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.
STATUS: Died of cancer in 2003 before trial.
Waajid Aljawwaad Bey
Bakery president, 2003-2004.
PERSONAL: Born Carl Hambrick, he got an accounting degree at Golden Gate University and joined Bey's organization.
BACKGROUND: Aljawwaad was Yusuf Bey's longtime business manager. He arranged Bey's bail on child-rape charges. On his deathbed, Bey named Aljawwaad his successor.
KEY EVENTS: Five months after Bey's death, Aljawwaad disappeared. His body was found in the Oakland hills in July 2004. Aggrieved family members claim his slaying was part of a takeover by Antar Bey, son of the patriarch.
STATUS: Dead at age 51. Slaying unsolved.
Son of Yusuf Bey; bakery chief executive officer, 2004-2005.
PERSONAL: A former member of his father's security cadre, he claimed his father had been falsely accused of rape.
BACKGROUND: He became CEO when Aljawwaad disappeared. Dissident family members accused Antar Bey of looting bank accounts and stealing real estate. After a lawsuit was filed by family members seeking to reclaim real estate, John Bey, one of the dissidents, was ambushed and wounded outside his home. No one was arrested.
KEY EVENTS: In October 2005, Antar Bey was shot to death at a gas station in what police said was a botched carjacking.
STATUS: Dead at 23.
Yusuf Bey IV
Bakery CEO, 2005-present.
PERSONAL: Son of the patriarch, he worked as a security guard, became CEO when Antar Bey was killed. Before he was 21, he had been arrested for car theft, exhibiting a firearm, obstructing a police officer, forgery and other crimes. Most charges were dismissed.
BACKGROUND: In November 2005, he was accused of directing the trashing of two Oakland liquor stores that allegedly were targeted because they sold alcohol to black people. In April 2007, he was arrested for attempting to run down a nightclub bouncer in the street outside a San Francisco strip club. Those cases are pending.
KEY EVENTS: In August, Bey IV was charged with kidnapping two women as part of an alleged plot to get money from a drug dealer. Also arrested in the May incident were bakery associate Tamon Halfin, and Joshua Bey, son of one of Yusuf Bey's alleged rape victims.
STATUS: In custody at age 21.
PERSONAL: Born in San Francisco's Western Addition. At 15 he enrolled in a program for disadvantaged youth at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. But he dropped out of Ida B. Wells Continuation High School, and in May told police he was homeless.
BACKGROUND: As a juvenile, he was arrested for vandalism, robbery and auto theft. On Halloween 2005, he and four other men beat and robbed a passenger on a downtown streetcar. He served 100 days in jail, then found work at the bakery.
KEY EVENTS: In July, Broussard and Yusuf Bey IV were among demonstrators videotaped as they protested the impounding of a car allegedly used in the kidnapping case, a source said. Days later, Broussard was arrested on suspicion of the Aug. 2 street-corner shooting of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey. Broussard confessed, but his lawyer says he was ordered to "take the fall" by Bey IV.
STATUS: In custody.
Sources: Court records, Chronicle interviews