Who Really Killed Chauncey Bailey?
Bailey was the first journalist killed in the U.S. because of his reporting since 1976. One man confessed to the shooting, but a group of journalists investigating his Oakland, Calif., murder say others were involved.
BB: The police responded to Chauncey's death the way they respond to all homicides in Oakland. And that is that they investigated it; they learned pretty early on who they believed was responsible for it; and they ended up raiding the bakery the day after Chauncey's death -- something that had been planned before Chauncey died but had been delayed -- and they got the guy who pulled the trigger. And that really became the end of the investigation.
The police themselves said they did not believe that Broussard acted alone. But from what we've learned, they did not do anything to prove the conspiracy. And that became a big issue for us when we found out. They actually had the proof, but they had to do the work, and they didn't do that. It [didn't happen] until the Bailey Project got involved and began looking at cell phone records that the police had ordered but hadn't analyzed.
Our analysis of the cell phone records showed who Bey IV was talking to at the time Bailey was killed. We were able to write a story that said tracking devices showed Bey IV, Broussard and Mackey were sitting outside Bailey's apartment the night before he was killed; the records show that Bey IV was making a phone call from outside the apartment. The next morning, the cell phone records prove that Bey IV was talking with somebody at the spot where Bailey was killed. So [the police] had the evidence, but they never analyzed it.
TR: To what do you attribute that response?
BB: There were several mistakes the police made. One, they treated this as any other murder. The second mistake the police made was that the lead investigator in the case had a relationship and history with the Bey family. He was the homicide investigator when Bey IV's older brother was killed back in 2005. He knew the mother; he knew Bey IV. He was used the day they raided the bakery as the investigator to talk to the suspects, including Bey IV and Broussard.
I think that was a smart move on the police's part. But after that, they should have given the case to somebody else simply because of the appearance of conflict. Had they not left him on the case, I believe we wouldn't be talking about what we're talking about now.
TR: What's the latest with the trial?
BB: The prosecutor spent the first few days calling witnesses who saw the shooting, witnesses who saw the gunman, and policemen involved in the raid of the bakery and adjacent homes where the bakery members lived. Then, on [March 24], she called Broussard, which is really early in the trial. And he started talking about how he came to the bakery, and then, by [March 28], she got into the various crimes … he started talking about stalking Chauncey, and when we ended on [March 28], we had gotten to the point where they were trying to find Chauncey [to kill him].
TR: Tell us a little bit about Yusuf Bey IV.
BB: His father was very powerful, and we know of at least three other cases in which people involved in the bakery were killed, and their murders are still unsolved. So as a child growing up, you see this and hear the stories. You grow up in an environment where, [if] you don't like what someone's doing, you can take them out and there are no consequences. I can only surmise that when it came to killing Chauncey, the people involved thought, "We can do this and get away with it."