Questions remain over Chauncey Bailey murder

August 2, 2008 1:48:52 PM PDT
A year ago today, at about 7:30 a.m., veteran journalist Chauncey Bailey was shot three times and killed as he was walking from his home near Lake Merritt to his job as editor of the Oakland Post at 405 14th St., near City Hall.

The shooting on 14th Street near Alice Street, less than a block away from a McDonald's restaurant where Bailey, 57, had stopped to have breakfast, shocked the Oakland community and journalists around the country and the world.

Your Black Muslim Bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 20, is awaiting trial on charges that he murdered Bailey, who worked for the Oakland Tribune for many years before going to the Oakland Post.

Broussard told Oakland police shortly after the incident that he killed Bailey because he was upset about the journalist's reporting on the bakery's financial problems.

But questions remain about whether Broussard acted alone or was even directly involved at all because he later recanted his confession and said the only reason he confessed in the first place is that Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV, 22, told him to do so.

Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said the day after Bailey was shot that police believed that Yusuf Bey IV, who's the son of bakery founder Yusuf Bey, was involved in Bailey's death in some fashion.

But Bey hasn't been charged and Broussard is the only defendant in the Bailey homicide. Broussard is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Sept. 19 to have a trial date set.

However, Bey is in custody for a separate case in which he and several associates are accused of kidnapping and torturing two women in Oakland in May 2007 as well as several other cases in several different counties.

On Wednesday, Bey pleaded no contest to eight felony counts for leading a group of bakery associates who vandalized two West Oakland liquor stores on Nov. 23, 2005.

Oakland Post Publisher Paul Cobb didn't return phone calls on Friday seeking comment on the anniversary of Bailey's death.

A Paris-based group called Reporters Without Borders issued a statement this week saying that it is "very disappointed that the investigation (into Bailey's death) has not made any progress."

The group said, "Instead, the case has become more complicated as aspects surrounding the motives for Bailey's murder have been unleashed. Evidence, some recorded by the police and some uncovered by investigative reporters, points at someone other than the currently accused defendant (Broussard) as a potential perpetrator(s) and/or mastermind(s) of the crime, and suggests that local police officials may be protecting those responsible for Mr. Bailey's death."

The press freedom organization said it is launching a petition calling for "Justice for Chauncey Bailey."

The petition calls for Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff and California Attorney General Jerry Brown to recuse themselves from the case and have the U.S. Attorney General's office "conduct an independent investigation and assume the prosecution of those responsible for the murder of Chauncey Bailey."

On Friday, Orloff said he doesn't like to talk about the case because it's awaiting trial but he said, "The last chapter in this book hasn't been written."

He declined to elaborate.

Orloff also said he doesn't think the case should be handled by the U.S. Attorney General's office or another outside agency.

He said, "I have no question whatsoever that my office can prosecute this case professionally and competently."


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