New piece of Bailey slaying puzzle surfaces

The San Francisco Chronicle/December 7, 2008

The leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery expressed satisfaction on the morning Chauncey Bailey was killed, saying the journalist got what he deserved for taking on the troubled organization in his reporting, a bakery member told Oakland police in a recently discovered account given the day after the slaying.

Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV summoned the woman to watch a TV news story about three hours after Bailey, 57, was gunned down on his way to work on Aug. 2, 2007, she told homicide investigators. As they watched the report on the Oakland Post editor's slaying, Bey told her, "That will teach 'em to f- with me," she said.

The woman worked at the bakery headquarters on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland and stayed in Bey's room there the night before Bailey was killed, she said. The Chronicle obtained a tape of her account and police notes of her interview, but is not naming her at the request of authorities who say her safety could be threatened.

The woman's statement came to the attention of the Alameda County district attorney only within the past two months, authorities said - mysteriously, in the file of a separate criminal investigation into the bakery. The lead police investigator into Bailey's killing, who has long been a friend of Bey's, did not mention it in his official account of the probe.

The belated discovery adds to questions already surrounding the police investigation into Bailey's death. The state attorney general, the district attorney and Oakland police internal affairs investigators have all launched probes into whether the Bailey case was handled appropriately.

Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan, the No. 2 officer in the department, said he knew nothing of the woman's statement before being contacted by The Chronicle on Friday.

"This is the first I've heard of it. I'm a little surprised," Jordan said. "I will follow up on it. I'll look into it and will take appropriate action when necessary."

A 21-year-old handyman at the bakery, Devaughndre Broussard, is the only person accused of murdering Bailey. But Broussard's attorney has said his client was the "fall guy" for a killing carried out at Bey's behest.

The woman interviewed by police said she believed that Bey, 22, was behind the slaying and said bakery members would never have carried it out without his approval.

Bey has not been charged with Bailey's killing, and one of his attorneys, Ted Johnson, has denied that his client was involved.

Confessed, recanted

Broussard confessed to police after being arrested on Aug. 3, 2007, telling them he shot Bailey because of the journalist's reporting on the bakery and because he "wanted to be a real strong soldier." He subsequently recanted his statement, however, saying Bey had pressured him into taking sole responsibility when Oakland police put the two in a room alone after both were arrested.

Bey was in custody in connection with a separate kidnap-torture case and other crimes and is still in jail awaiting trial.

In her interview with police, the woman recounted a string of events that started on Aug. 1, 2007, the day before Bailey was slain.

She said Bey had been visibly angry that Bailey was researching an article for the Oakland Post about the impending bankruptcy filing by the bakery, a black self-empowerment organization that Bey's father, Yusuf Bey, founded in 1968 and ran until his death in 2003.

She said Bey had paced around the bakery headquarters that day, his jaw clenched, which she described as a characteristic sign of his rage.

"I guess some more information about Yusuf was going to be in the article," she said. "He wasn't too happy about it."

Bey had complained that Bailey had been "disrespectful" to the bakery leader and had little regard for Bey or the bakery's community activities, the woman said.

Bey talked on the phone that day with a man she believed to be bakery member Antoine Mackey, the woman said. She told police that from hearing Bey's side of the conversation, she concluded that the two were "scoping out" Bailey. The talk was about the layout of what the woman took to be the Alameda County courthouse near Lake Merritt.

"They said something about someone who was walking out," she said, adding that Bey and the caller were discussing "what kind of building it was, what kind of entrance it was."

Police later learned that Bey, Mackey and Broussard had indeed "scoped out" Bailey before his death. The night of Aug. 1, Oakland police set up surveillance outside the bakery in advance of a planned raid, part of the torture and kidnapping case with which Bey was eventually charged. Nothing eventful happened, however, so the four undercover officers left around 10 p.m.

A tracking device that police had put on Bey's Dodge Charger, however, showed that the car left bakery headquarters a short time later. Bey later told police that he, Broussard and Mackey had been in the car.

At 12:24 a.m. Aug. 2, the car arrived outside Bailey's apartment on First Avenue near Lake Merritt in Oakland, the tracking device showed. Broussard's defense attorney, LeRue Grim, has said the men discussed knocking on Bailey's door and shooting whomever answered, but decided against it and drove off. Varying explanations

Bey himself has provided varying explanations to police for his actions, first denying that he went to Bailey's street, then saying the men had simply gone to the journalist's residence at Broussard's behest.

The tracking device shows that the car returned to the bakery for the night at 1:42 a.m. The female bakery member told police that Bey asked Mackey to wake him at 5 a.m.

"I asked him (Bey), 'For what?' the woman told police. "He said, 'To pray.' " She stressed that it was odd for Bey to pray so early. "He does pray, but normally, you don't pray at 5 o'clock in the morning," she said.

The woman said she had not asked Bey any more questions. "I kind of had the feeling he was up to something," she said.

"Like what?" asked Sgt. Jim Rullamas, the homicide investigator who was questioning her.

"Like trying to assassinate Chauncey Bailey," she said.

She said she did not believe Bey would commit the killing himself, "but I think he was going to have someone to do it."

"Based upon what you know of him, and what you know of the bakery and the members of the bakery, could anybody have done that without his approval?" Rullamas asked.

"No," she said.

At 5 a.m., someone knocked on the door of Bey's room, and the bakery leader left for 10 to 15 minutes, the woman recounted.

Just before 7:30 a.m., Bailey was killed with a shotgun as he walked to work at 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland. His masked killer walked up to him, fired, walked away and then fired again. The shooter got into a waiting white van and drove off.

The woman told police that Bey got up about 9:30 a.m., took a shower and left. When he returned about an hour later, she said, he called her over to watch the TV news.

"The news was on in the bathroom, and it was talking about Chauncey Bailey ... supposedly being assassinated," she said. "He (Bey) looked satisfied. He was happy about it and he was proud about it."

She added, "I think he said, 'That will teach 'em to f- with me.' Something like that."

Rullamas asked what her conclusion was. "That he actually did it," she replied, but said she had not asked Bey about it.

The woman was among numerous bakery members taken in for questioning in a series of police raids the day after Bailey was killed. She has not been charged with a crime.

Missing statement

Her statement was not reflected in the official chronology of the case as prepared by the lead investigator in Bailey's killing, police Sgt. Derwin Longmire.

Longmire's case chronology was among the documents presented to prosecutors to help them decide who should be charged in the case. Typically, such a chronology includes summaries of police interviews and logs other actions of the investigators.

The Police Department has said Longmire included in his chronology only the information he gathered himself. Police records indicate that he was not present when the woman was questioned, and he did not interview the woman himself later.

Her statement was only recently provided to Broussard's defense team, after it arrived at the district attorney's office in an unexpected fashion. The prosecutor in the case, Chris Lamiero, said he found the account in another case file that he had asked the Police Department to send to him.

That file concerned the July 2007 slaying of 36-year-old Michael Wills, who was gunned down with an AK-47 rifle that had been tied to the bakery.

"Why this has taken this long to get to the point where it is turned over to (Broussard's) defense, I can't comment on that," Lamiero said.

The Chronicle has reported that Longmire, a 23-year veteran of the department, had a long-standing friendship with Bey. He was the investigator who put the bakery leader and Broussard in a room together shortly before Broussard confessed.

It is unclear when Longmire learned of the woman's statement, but sources with knowledge of the matter say the sergeant dismissed her account as not relevant and immaterial to the investigation. Probe requested

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums asked the state attorney general's office in October to investigate the Police Department's handling of the case and said Longmire should be taken off the investigation. Police have strongly denied suggestions that Longmire ignored evidence that might link bakery members besides Broussard to Bailey's killing.

Longmire's attorney, Michael Rains, said he was not aware of questions about the handling of the woman's statement and had not discussed the matter with the sergeant.

"I'm still waiting for an investigation that, as far as I know, hasn't happened," Rains said. "My response is: This is the first I've heard of it. If that is an issue, that is an issue. But I don't know it."

Deputy Police Chief Jeff Israel said he had been asked Friday by Jordan, the No. 2 official in the department, to look into the matter.

"I have concerns," said Israel. He said it was his understanding that the interview had gone to the district attorney's office two months ago.

"If it is relevant, it should have been brought forward (sooner)," he said.

District Attorney Tom Orloff would not comment on the time it took to discover the woman's statement and supply it to Broussard's defense team.

As for whether his office will charge Bey in Bailey's killing, he said, "Time is on our side.

"We're still plugging away," Orloff said. "We'll see where we end up with Yusuf IV."

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