The East Bay Express reported that in March 1994, Black Muslim leader Nedir Bey "allegedly tortured a man for several hours, beating him with a police flashlight and jamming the barrel of a gun inside his mouth." But according the East Bay Express this and other sordid stories that negatively portrayed Ysuf Bey, his Black Muslim group and related businesses were either buried by local newspapers like the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle or seemingly ignored.
In 1994 Oakland Black Muslim leader Ysuf Bey was running for mayor. He invited Nation of Islam speaker Khalid Muhammad, a notorious anti-Semite, to speak at a campaign rally. The same man who once described the Jewish community as "no-good, hook-nosed Jews" who are "sucking our blood." Nevertheless Ysuf Bey praised Khalid Muhammad and criticized Jews that objected to his appearance.
The Bey family reportedly had "years of horrific allegations of torture, beatings, and anti-Semitism," but politicians in California and especially in the Bay area seemed to empower and embolden the Bey family by granting it favors.
State Senator Don Perata once said, "The leadership [Bey provided] should be an inspiration to all concerned over [Oakland's] future."
Tarika Lewis saw nothing inspiring about the Bey family. She called police during the late 1970s and early '1980s to report abuse, but no one took meaningful action. Lewis contacted county child welfare and ministers in the East Bay, explaining that Yusuf Bey was abusing a minor child, but no one seemed to care.
Reportedly, "Tarika Lewis, the stepmother of two young girls who Yusuf Bey allegedly beat and raped, claims to have spent at least five years begging law enforcement agencies and child welfare officials to save her stepdaughters -- to no avail."
Lewis concluded, "Maybe people are so desperate, they're so thirsty for any type of family environment, they'll take anything that goes along with it, warts and all."
The East Bay Express examined public records and found the following:
"Two senior Oakland police officers claim that their department looked the other way as Bey family associates exacted vigilante justice in certain North Oakland neighborhoods."
"During the sentencing phase of Nedir Bey's 1995 trial on charges that he beat and tortured a man, Bey produced letters of support from Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and City Council member Larry Reid."
"One year after Nedir Bey pleaded no contest in that trial, the city of Oakland lent him $1.1 million to start a home health care business. After the city complained that Bey misspent the funds on personal perks and over inflated salaries, Bey allegedly closed the business secretly and sold equipment pledged as collateral. Not one cent has ever been repaid."
"Even after losing this $1.1 million, the city of Oakland gave Nedir Bey $14,000 to finance his unsuccessful campaign to win a seat on the city council. Bey repeatedly has refused to explain how he spent the money -- and may have violated campaign-finance regulations to get some of it."
"The Soul Beat cable channel -- which serves as the local black community's only television outlet for discussion of critical issues -- has banned discussion of the charges facing Yusuf Bey, who pays station owner Chuck Johnson an undisclosed fee to broadcast his...sermons every week."
Reportedly Bey Family associate Basheer Muhammad led a crew that allegedly beat people.
Allen Tucker told the East Bay Express that the "Bey family terrorized the tenants" in his building and that the local police did nothing to stop it. Tucker explained, "Everybody was under threat at that apartment building, even the neighbors. Every Sunday, they would come over and do these military marches. Every time they came around, you could feel the tension in the air. You knew when they came somebody was gonna get beat up." Tucker also said that despite people calling 911 no one responded to help them. He said, "It was like they were given the okay, like the police wanted to let them do their thing. But their thing is criminal. One police officer, I remember he wanted to get them so bad. But his hands were tied. ... I guess Yusuf Bey's hooked in with the police or the mayor's office. I couldn't understand that."
The East Bay Express interviewed a police officer who stated, "The methods they employed, we're not allowed to do that in a democratic society. The police aren't allowed to go around and beat up young black men. But during this time, if you were a Black Muslim, you had the permission to do that, and the police were told to look the other way."
According to the same officer Police Chief "Joe Samuels was a very political animal, and he and other politicians were in bed with Mr. Bey and would do everything they could to garner his support. No one ever reached down and said, 'Leave the Beys alone.' But when you work in an organization, you learn what the sacred cows are. The people you don't mess with. The Bey family was one of those. ... A bunch of crap happened, and people were told to keep their hands off. When the cases were clear-cut, sometimes you couldn't do anything about it. But they were given a lot of latitude to operate. You can see the power of the Bey family politically."
When contacted by the East Bay Express Samuels denied the allegations.
There are also allegations of special treatment concerning Nedir Bey. Nedir Bey, the "spiritual son" of Ysuf Bey, was sentenced to home detention for six months after a serious felony conviction. An old probation report states, "In viewing copies of the reference letters submitted to the court on 2/17/95, it appears the defendant is a respected, well-thought-of individual. Among the defendants' references are Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and City of Oakland Chief of Staff Lawrence E. Reid."
Despite his criminal conviction Nedir Bey received a loan from the city of Oakland for $1.1 million. This was for his EM Health Services company. The loan seemed financially ill advised considering the lack of meaningful collateral and that the underlying Bey business, Your Black Muslim Bakery, owed $60,000 in back taxes.
Why did Oakland even consider the $1.1 million to this convicted felon?
Mary Joseph, of the city's Community and Economic Development Agency said, "It was not city policy at the time, nor is it currently city policy, to conduct criminal background checks on city loan applicants and their principals."
On July 18, 2001 the city of Oakland was granted a judgment against Nedir Bey for $1.1 million regarding that same loan.
Mustafa Bey, another Bey family associate, headed a security company Universal Distributors, which was granted lucrative contracts to patrol downtown Oakland, apartment complexes, hotels in the East Bay and San Francisco's Tenderloin district, Universal Distributors also provided security at the Oakland Ice Center and the Marriott Hotel and convention center.
Port of Oakland officials wanted Universal to provide security outside the Oakland airport. However, a state official told East Bay Express that Universal never had a license to provide such security services.
Department of Consumer Affairs spokesman Kevin Flanagan stated, "Universal Distributors does not have a license with the state of California -- period. If there is a company that is operating under that name, it is not operating legally. We are going to investigate this."
Apparently the Bey family often received special treatment, which flowed from political consideration and connections.
Note: This news summary is based upon the report "How Official Oakland Kept the Bey Empire Going" written by Chris Thompson published by the East Bay Express November 20, 2002.