Jailhouse video sheds light on Bailey murder

June 19, 2008 12:27:28 AM PDT
After journalist Chauncey Bailey was killed in Oakland last August, only one man was charged with the crime. At the time of his death, Bailey was investigating the financial problems and infighting at Your Black Muslim Bakery.

Now, a group of journalists, known as the Chauncey Bailey Project, has obtained a jail video that reveals new evidence that the bakery's leader may have been involved in a wider conspiracy to kill Bailey.

It was a brutal street murder when Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey was shot point-blank in the chest and head as he walked to work. Witnesses say a masked gunman jumped into a white van and disappeared.

Later, police arrested Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at Your Black Muslim Bakery. Police transcripts suggest Broussard killed Bailey to stop him from writing about the bakery. And during a recorded interrogation, Broussard confessed.

"So I ran up and aimed it at him and then he swung and then I shot him," said Broussard.
"What happened when you shot him?" asked the detective.
"He fell," said Broussard.
"And when he fell, what happened then?" asked the detective.
"Shot him again. Then again," said Broussard.

However, this wasn't the only recording made in the days immediately following the killing. Three days after Broussard's confession, police purposely placed three men associated with Your Black Muslim Bakery in a room and secretly tape them. They had been arrested in an unrelated crime, kidnapping and torturing two women for drug money.

Yusuf Bey IV, the bakery's charismatic leader, his half brother Joshua Bey and a follower Tamon Halfin, sat in a room together. They were in surprisingly good spirits, laughing about jail life and eventually, the Bailey murder. Bey IV talks about how he toyed with investigators during questioning.

"They looked at each other and said, 'Why don't you just give the guys up? You know they did it on your order.' I said, 'Order? Order what? We ordered some sandwiches and sh**.' [laughter] I was playing hella dumb with this sh**." said Bey IV.

He says he had possession of the gun that killed Bailey.

"Listen. You know what else was? The night before [the raid], the gun that was used, was in my closet. The only reason why I took it out of my room that night was because I saw a van kept going back and forth in front of the gate and the brothers was scared, so I gave them a gun. The one that they used," said Bey IV.

"Which one did they use? The shotty?" asked Joshua Bey.

"The shotty. But I had it in my room the whole time after it happened, the shells there and everything," said Bey IV.

The 'shotty,' a sawed off 12 gauge shotgun, had a history at the bakery. Court records show it was stolen from a liquor store Bey IV and several followers are accused of vandalizing.

Bey IV maintains he had nothing to do with Bailey's murder, but in the tape's most disturbing moments, he gives a graphic account of the event.

"That fool said, 'Pow, pow! Poof!' [Bey IV throws his head back, as if demonstrating what happened to Bailey when he was shot] He a soldier for that sh**!" said Bey IV.
"Where he shot him at?" asked Joshua Bey.
"The head," said Bey IV.
"With the ... ?" asked Joshua Bey.
[Laugh, nod] "Poof!" said Bey IV as he throws his head back again and they all laugh.
"You was there?" asked Joshua Bey.
"Hell, no. hell, no! You ain't about to put me close," said Bey IV.

A week after his arrest, Devaundre Broussard recanted his confession. He told his attorney that Bey IV had pushed him to take the blame and be a soldier for the bakery.

On the tape, Bey IV's recollection of how he and a police detective got that confession seems to back up Dre Broussard's story.

"He [Police Sergeant Derwin Longmire] said, 'If you don't hand the dude over to me, we're going to pin the Bakery that you did it.' But Dre was, uh, so Dre, I told Dre I said, 'You did it.' Dre looked at me, looked back at the cop. He said, 'Yeah, I did it.' And that's how it happened, because they tried to make it look like the Bakery did it," said Bey IV.

Broussard's attorney knew nothing about the secret tape until the Chauncey Bailey Project showed it to him.

"I could not believe that the information on this video tape so precisely conformed to and corroborated the version that my client has been telling me all during these months," said LeRue Grim, Broussard's attorney.

Grim says, if he'd known about the video, his client might not be in jail today.

"If I could have shown this to the magistrate at the preliminary hearing, he might have made a different decision," said Grim.

Bey IV tried to downplay the recording in an interview from jail last week. There were no cameras allowed, but he told us, what you see on the video is a performance 'Just to confuse police...there was no facts involved.' And that 'We all knew it was recorded. We knew that was a set up from the beginning.'

But, veteran criminal defense attorney and Dean Emeritus from Golden Gate University, Peter Keane, says Bey's words seem genuine.

"There is this spontaneity about their discussion which not even Oscar award-winning actors could pull off if they knew they were being taped," said Keane.

Keane says the video will be powerful evidence in Broussard's trial and should force police and prosecutors to take another look at Yusuf Bey IV.

"...With the background of the bakery and Bey, particularly Bey's very vivid description of the way Chauncey Bailey died. All of those things together make for a big question in my mind, why isn't he charged? Why isn't he charged as an accessory to the murder?" said Keane.

The Oakland Police Department refused to be interviewed for this report, saying this is an ongoing investigation and that additional charges have not been ruled out.

Chauncey Bailey Project: www.chaunceybaileyproject.org
Chauncey Bailey Project archive: www.chaunceybaileyproject.org/archive

Other agencies involved with the Chauncey Bailey Project:
Center for Investigative Reporting: centerforinvestigativereporting.org
Contra Costa Times, Thomas Peele's latest article: "Van owner: I gave the keys to Bey IV": click here


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