Police arranged jail conversation, but didn't record it. They admit officer is a friend of Yusuf Bey IV.
The Murder Of Chauncey Bailey
Was A Newspaper Editor Murdered To Keep A Story Out Of Print?
Feb. 24, 2008
Shot-gunned to death in the course of reporting a story, police say newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey was probably killed to keep that story out of print.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper reports.
(CBS) This story begins with a journalist murdered this past summer in Oakland, Calif., presumably because of a story he was working on.
His name was Chauncey Bailey, and just this past week he was honored posthumously with the George Polk Award - one of journalism’s most prestigious honors - for the story that may have cost him his life.
The story Bailey was working on was about, of all things, a bakery. But not any ordinary bakery: it’s called "Your Black Muslim Bakery," and as CNN's Anderson Cooper reports, it was once a multi-million-dollar business as well as a major religious and political power in Oakland.
But the bakery's leaders were known for using tactics right out of "The Godfather." Bailey was investigating some of those tactics, which made some bakery leaders angry.
And angering the bakery was risky business, as Oakland police knew all too well.
"Rumors about them killing people or, forcing them to do stuff that they didn't want to do, was rampant throughout the community," Assistant Chief Howard Jordan remembers. "People were scared to talk. People were scared to call the police."
Jordan has been an Oakland cop for 19 years. He says Your Black Muslim Bakery was on police radar for a long time.
It looks harmless enough on the outside, but at its height, the bakery employed about 200 people, many of them ex-convicts, who converted to Islam. And some of them didn't seem to spend too much time in the kitchen.
Your Black Muslim Bakery opened its doors in Oakland more than 30 years ago, selling bean pies and fish sandwiches. It was started by a man who called himself Yusuf Bey, a black Muslim who preached a philosophy of self-reliance and self-esteem.
Over the years, the bakery provided jobs and hope to hundreds of African-Americans in Oakland's inner city. But the positive outward image of the bakery never told the whole story. Inside the building, there were some very sinister things going on.
"It doesn't seem like many folks at the bakery were baking too many pies. It seemed to have just become a criminal enterprise," Cooper remarks.
"That's a fairly accurate statement," Jordan agrees. "It went from a business that was conducting legitimate business to a business interested in doing fraud, real estate fraud, assaults, robberies, vandalism, to promote a criminal cause versus a religious cause."
But in 2002, bakery founder Yusuf Bey was arrested on 27 counts of abusing and raping 12 and 13-year-old girls taken in by the bakery. He was accused of fathering children by them, and of stealing their welfare payments.
According to many reports, Bey fathered more than 40 children by different women at the bakery. As the Bey family, and its business, grew, they opened a dozen stores and owned a security company, a dry cleaner, a school, and properties in the area. In the process, the bakery became something of a law unto itself.
"A lot of Oakland cops told me that they left certain neighborhoods to the Bey family," says reporter Chris Thompson.
"Let them take care of business however they wanted?" Cooper asks.
"Yeah," Thompson says.
Thompson revealed the bakery's secrets in the East Bay Express, a weekly paper. He exposed a trail of "violence, brutality and fraud that stretches back almost a decade." Members of the bakery were furious.
After the stories were published in the paper, Thompson says somebody smashed out all their windows.
Asked if he personally received threats, Thompson tells Cooper, "Somebody would call up and say 'Mr. Thompson, we just want you to know that your days are numbered. Your time is up. You screwed up for the last time.' The creepiest thing was when they started following me home."
That's when Thompson decided to get out of town for a few months. While he was gone, the bakery's charismatic leader, Yusuf Bey, died. His funeral was attended by a thousand mourners, from all parts of Oakland.
After Yusuf Bey Sr.'s death, Howard Jordan says there was a power struggle within the organization. "There was a power struggle between the younger and the older Bey family members," he explains.
This was not your typical boardroom power struggle. Two of Bey's successors were murdered, and a third was wounded in an ambush. The last man standing was Yusuf Bey IV, the 19-year-old son of founder Yusuf Bey, and one of five sons he named after himself.
That's where reporter Chauncey Bailey picked up the story. Bailey was a veteran of Oakland newspapers and television, who worked for a weekly African-American newspaper called The Oakland Post.
In July, Bailey was tipped off to serious financial problems inside the bakery by a man named Saleem Bey.
"The story you told Chauncey Bailey, did that lead to his murder?" Cooper asks Saleem Bey.
"I believe that it led directly to his murder," he replies.
Saleem Bey is not one of Yusuf Bey Sr.'s biological children. He's one of the dozens of people Bey "spiritually adopted" who took the family name. Saleem Bey was a leader of the bakery, until he was forced out in that power struggle.
"I told Chauncey Bailey that the bakery was about to be shut down in an illegal bankruptcy," Saleem Bey explains. "This was the culmination of three years of the bakery being embezzled, and fraud and forgery, and different things that led to it being this way."
"You asked Chauncey Bailey to keep your name out of it. Why?" Cooper asks.
"I knew that it would be inflammatory, and that the people who would take it that way were dangerous," Saleem Bey explains.
Over the years, the bakery had earned a reputation for intimidation.
One incident, which they called a "show of force," was taped by San Francisco's CBS station KPIX-TV. Members of the bakery could be seen outside an Oakland tow-yard, demanding that a car be released. This was a smaller version of the close-order military drills that up to 50 bakery members would put on to intimidate the community.
Another "show of force" was caught by a security camera. Yusuf Bey IV and some of his followers were charged with trashing a neighborhood liquor store. Bey, who has pleaded not guilty, said the action was taken because alcohol was against Islamic law.
After taking over the bakery, Yusuf Bey IV went on a crime spree; he was arrested in three Oakland-area counties on five different felony charges.
"We saw a huge criminal enterprise starting to develop with the change in leadership when Yusuf Bey took over," Jordan says.
At the time reporter Chauncey Bailey was killed, Yusuf Bey IV was free on bail on all charges.
Asked if he thought Chauncey Bailey understood the risk, Saleem Bey says, "I believe that he thought it was more of a risk to myself than to himself. I don't believe that he really felt that he was in danger."
The danger was very real. While working on the bakery story, Chauncey Bailey was ambushed as he walked to his office at the Post. Witnesses told police a young black man wearing a ski-mask, pointed a shotgun at Bailey, and calmly fired three times at point-blank range. The shooter got into a white van idling nearby and sped off.
A day later, more than 200 heavily armed police raided the bakery to arrest Yusuf Bey IV and others on kidnapping and torture charges that had nothing to do with the Bailey murder.
And they arrested another man, Devaughndre Broussard, for killing Bailey. Broussard was a 20-year-old janitor at the bakery, who had converted to Islam after serving time for assault in San Francisco.
When 60 Minutes met him in county jail, Broussard told Cooper what he first told police: he didn't do it.
"I never heard about Chauncey Bailey. I never met him. I never seen him. The first time I heard about Mr. Chauncey Bailey was that night I got arrested," Broussard says.
While under arrest, Broussard continued his denials. And that's when police took an unorthodox step: they put Broussard in an interrogation room alone with his boss and spiritual leader, Yusuf Bey IV.
"He was saying like, 'You gotta help us out. You gotta take this fall.' He was saying like 'As your commanding officer, you gotta follow my orders,'" Broussard claims.
To convince him to take the fall, Broussard says Yusuf Bey IV played on his Moslem beliefs. "He was telling me how I was being tested by God," he says.
"He said that God was testing you?" Cooper asks.
"Yes, he did," Broussard says. "He was saying that, 'You gotta prove your loyalty' and what not."
"By saying you killed Chauncey Bailey, that was proving yourself to God?" Cooper asks.
"He were saying that most times, people don't realize when they being tested by God. 'I’m helping you out. I'm telling you that you being tested by God,'" Broussard says.
"But, I mean, this is a guy you trusted," Cooper remarks.
"Like they say, the people you love is the one that's going to hurt you the fastest," Broussard says.
Immediately after that conversation, Broussard confessed, telling police he was a "good soldier" who killed reporter Chauncey Bailey to protect the bakery. Did Broussard change his story because of what Yusuf Bey IV said to him? Police don't know, because they didn't listen in to that conversation or even record it.
"Mr. Broussard is saying that Yusuf Bey the IV told him, you know, 'Be a good soldier, take the fall.' Do you buy that?" Cooper asks Howard Jordan.
"No. I don't know what was said, but I don't I don't think that it's really relevant as far as what was said in that room," Jordan says.
"You don't think what was said in that room really matters?" Cooper asks.
"No, and it doesn't matter to us in terms of the end-product," Jordan says.
"But shouldn't someone have tape recorded that, or at least listened in on what they were saying?" Cooper asks.
"In a perfect world, yes, that, that should have taken place, but it didn’t," Jordan replies.
The lead investigator in the case, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, was the officer who decided to put Broussard and Bey IV together. But, in another strange twist, it turns out that Sgt. Longmire had been close to Yusuf Bey IV and the bakery for years.
Broussard realized just how close when he heard them talking at the police station.
Here's his account of what went on: "They was getting along like they really knew each other. The detective, he was saying like, 'We can't let Yusuf Bey the IV go down. He doing good in the community. He helping out black people,'" Broussard claims.
"The police said that to you?" Cooper asks.
"Police officer said that to me," Broussard says.
Chief Jordan does confirm that police knew all about Sgt Longmire's long-time relationship with Bey IV and other bakery leaders. "I don't have any problems with Sgt. Longmire's relationship with members of the bakery. I trust his integrity. I trust his credibility," Jordan says.
"It's certainly something, though, that's gonna be brought up during the trial, the fact that the lead investigator on the case turns out to be friends with Yusuf Bey the IV. It’s unusual, to say the least," Cooper says.
"It's unusual, but not unethical," Jordan says.
Today, Broussard insists he's not guilty and claims he knows who the real killer is.
Asked if he knows who did it, Broussard tells Cooper, "I'm gonna give all that info up when I go to trial."
Yusuf Bey IV, who is in jail on multiple unrelated felony charges, declined 60 Minutes' request for an interview. But he has denied any part in the Bailey murder.
"If anyone had a reason to be concerned about Chauncey Bailey writing something negative about the bakery, they would seem to be the guy who was leading the bakery," Cooper remarks.
"Correct," Jordan agrees. "That is a motive that, you know, we need to explore."
Police say the case is still open. But more than six months after Chauncey Bailey’s murder, Broussard remains the only one charged in the crime.
"Does it make sense that a low-level employee at this bakery, Devaughndre Broussard, would come up with this plan and execute it all by himself?" Cooper asks.
"It doesn't seem right. It seems highly unusual. But I don't know this young man. I don't know what he believes in," Jordan says.
"So it's possible he was following orders from somebody else?" Cooper asks.
"Oh, that's very possible. Yes," Jordan replies.