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Chauncey Wendell Bailey, Jr. (20 October 1949 – 2 August 2007) was an American journalist, noted for his work primarily on issues of the African-American community. He served as editor-in-chief of The Oakland Post from June 2007 until he was shot dead on August 2, 2007. His 37-year career in journalism included lengthy periods as a reporter at The Detroit News and The Oakland Tribune.


Early years

Bailey was born one of five children in Oakland, Californiamarker into a Catholic family who were members of St. Benedict's Catholic Church on 82nd Avenue.He lived in East Oakland neighborhoods for many years and attended Hayward High Schoolmarker in the nearby community of Haywardmarker. Bailey earned an Associates Degree from Oakland's old Merritt Community Collegemarker in 1968, and a Bachelors in Journalism from San Jose State Universitymarker in 1972.


Bailey first wrote for The Oakland Post in 1970, and made his foray into television news that year as an on-air reporter with station KNTVmarker in San Jose, Californiamarker, where he continued through 1971. During the next three years he worked at the San Francisco Sun Reporter.

In the mid 1970s, Bailey moved to Hartford, Connecticutmarker to work on the Hartford Courant for three years. After working for a year on the rewrite desk at United Press International in Chicagomarker, he returned to Oakland in 1978 and wrote for the California Voice through late 1980. Bailey again moved to Chicago, where he worked as a publicist for the nonprofit Comprand Inc., and then relocated to Washington, D.C.marker in 1981 to work for a year as press secretary for the freshman U.S. Representative Gus Savage, D-Ill.From 1982 Bailey spent the next decade as a reporter and columnist for the Detroit News, where he covered city government and worked on special projects. In 1992 he returned to Oakland as public affairs director and newscaster on Bay Area radio with station KDIA, which was co-owned by then mayor of Oakland, Elihu Harris and then California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. During this era Bailey was seen throughout the 1990s as an interview and commentator on Soul Beat Television on the Oakland cable station KSBT, where he worked along with former Oakland actress Luenell. Bailey worked at the Oakland Tribune from 1993 until 2005. In the mid 1990s Bailey split from his wife.

In 2003 Bailey quit his program on Soul Beat after he failed in his attempt to buy the station. His program was canceled in 2004. In 2005 he then began writing freelance travel stories for The Oakland Post through June 2007, when he became editor and then editor-in-chief of all five Post weeklies. The Post is the largest African-American weekly newspaper in northern California, published in Oakland, Californiamarker by the Post News Group, and serving mainly Oakland, Berkeleymarker, Richmondmarker and San Francisco. In late 2004 Bailey became one of the producers, co-founders and hosts for OUR-TV (Opportunities in Urban Renaissance Television) on Comcast Channel 78. Bailey had been known for his aggressive questioning of city officials. Oakland Police spokesman Ronald Holmgren said: "I know him as being a somewhat outspoken type individual, assertive in his journalistic approach when trying to get at matters at hand."

Your Black Muslim Bakery
Bailey was working on a story about the finances of Your Black Muslim Bakery, involving its pending bankruptcy. After the shooting the Post publisher Paul Cobb revealed on television that, prior to Bailey's killing, Cobb had withheld from publication a story that Bailey had written earlier, saying only that it was about "things like" what happened to Bailey. He later stated that the police had asked him not to reveal anything about the matter. On August 6, 2007 a former employee of the bakery, Ali Saleem Bey, who is not a relative but who adopted the Bey name, revealed that he was Bailey's source for the withheld story, which the Post had decided was not ready for publication. Bailey had asked Bey to give him the story.

According to Ali Bey, the bakery business had been seized from its rightful heirs in a coup through fraud and forgery, by a ruthless, younger branch of the family, beginning with Antar Bey and culminating with the current chief executive officer, Yusuf Bey IV. Ali revealed that in June 2005, John Bey, the former head of the Bey security service, was driven out of town with his family after an attempt on his life in a shooting outside his home. John had tried to expose the fraud behind the coup. In 2005, Antar Bey mortgaged the bakery property, to cover back taxes and other debt, and then defaulted, which led to threat of foreclosure.An attorney for the Post also confirmed that Bailey had been working on the story about the "financial status of the organization" and including the possibly criminal "activities of a number of people who were working in the organization".

On October 24, 2006 Your Black Muslim Bakery, Inc., had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing its CEO as Yusuf Ali Bey, otherwise known as Yusuf Bey IV. With $900,000 in debts, owed mostly to the mortgage holder, the building was about to be foreclosed upon. The remaining debt, $200,000, was owed to the Internal Revenue Service. The day after Bailey's death, on August 3, 2007 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Edward Jellen ordered the case to be converted to Chapter 7 liquidation effective August 9, 2007.

Final days

By 2007 Bailey was living in an apartment near the south end of Lake Merrittmarker, not far from downtown Oakland. He was known to walk to work as a daily routine, and to stop for breakfast at a McDonalds restaurant at 14th Street and Jackson Street, about a half-block from where he was killed in the 200 block of 14th Street, becoming Oakland's 72nd homicide of 2007.

On the morning of August 2, 2007, Bailey set out on his usual walk to work. Unknown to him, it is alleged that Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at Your Black Muslim Bakery, who was on probation for a San Francisco robbery conviction, had found out where Bailey lived. Broussard had worked at the bakery as a handyman and cook between August 2006 and March 2007, before leaving to find other work. He was rehired at the bakery early in July 2007.

Broussard grew up in San Francisco's Western Addition district. The office of the San Francisco District Attorney revealed that in January 2006, at age 18, Broussard pled guilty to an assault charge, and served a first-time offender sentence of one year in San Francisco county jail. Upon release, Broussard was also ordered to three years of supervised probation. In addition to his probation status, he was wanted on an outstanding failure-to-appear warrant for his arrest, charged with a 2006 assault with a firearm in San Francisco.

Police revealed that on the night of August 1, 2007, Broussard first went looking for Bailey at his apartment complex, having discovered Bailey's home address near the south end of Lake Merritt. Early on the next morning of August 2, 2007 Broussard looked for Bailey at his office, but Bailey had not yet arrived. Police revealed that Broussard also went looking for Bailey twice again at his apartment complex that morning. At 07:17 a.m. an AC Transit bus driver may have seen Broussard near Bailey's apartment, standing outside with the shotgun at First Avenue and International Boulevard. The driver called his dispatcher, who reported the incident to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. The driver continued on his route, and deputies responded to the location, but could not locate the man in their search.

Broussard then, in a white Ford Aerostar van, began driving around the route he thought Bailey would be taking to work. Broussard insisted that he acted alone, but police believe he had an accomplice in the van. At 7:25 a.m. Broussard spotted Bailey leaving the McDonald's restaurant where Bailey regularly stopped to eat breakfast. Broussard then got out of the van, parked on Alice Street. Wearing a mask and dark clothing, he approached Bailey with the shotgun. Police cannot confirm that a witness claims that he heard Bailey say "Please don't kill me." The witness claims he recognized Bailey, and that he was in trouble, but stopped in his tracks when he saw the shotgun. Broussard admitted to police the next night that he then ambushed and killed Bailey. Oakland Police investigators said that Broussard confessed that he killed Bailey because he was angry over the past and ongoing articles written by Bailey about the bakery and its personnel.


As he walked from home to work, Bailey was shot dead around 7:30 a.m. on 14th Street near Alice Street in Oakland's Lakeside Apartments Districtmarker in what police described as an assassination. Witnesses said the single gunman wearing dark clothing and a ski mask approached Bailey and fired at least three rounds from a shotgun, hitting Bailey at least once in the chest, then fled on foot to a waiting van and drove off.

The gunman first fired a shotgun blast at Bailey's chest, then stood over him and fired again execution style at Bailey's face while Bailey was down, and then fired a coup de grâce to make sure he was dead. The assassin then escaped in the van. Bailey was pronounced dead at the scene. Police Chief Wayne Tucker described the killing as "unusual" because it occurred downtown and in broad daylight. The Mossberg shotgun used in the murder was later identified as one stolen during a liquor store vandalism 2 years prior suspected to have been committed by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery.

On the day of the killing Oakland Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland offered up to $25,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

Bailey was survived by his father, three of his four siblings, and his teenage son living in southern California. A funeral Mass was held at the East Oakland St. Benedict's Catholic Church on the morning of August 8, 2007, with an overflowing crowd of 700 in attendance, including a line of people outside for more than an hour into the service. Attendees included Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, actress Luenell, assistant dean of the University of California at Berkeleymarker Graduate School of Journalism Paul Grabowicz who once worked with Bailey at the Tribune, and well-known local attorney John Burris. Bailey was buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in nearby Hayward, Californiamarker.

Beginning early at 5 a.m. on the following morning of August 3, 2007, more than 200 Oakland Police officers and SWAT team members armed with search warrants closed off a number of blocks of San Pablo Avenue, a major thoroughfare in North Oakland. The area of focus included homes and the business properties of Your Black Muslim Bakery, which operated two business locations on either side of the street between Stanford Avenue and 59th Street. The group is a Black Muslim splinter organization founded by Yusuf Bey, and now led by his son Yusuf Bey IV. The pre-dawn raids followed a two-month investigation into a variety of violent crimes, including kidnapping and murder. Police used stun grenades and broke down doors to gain entry. In a news conference later that day, Oakland Deputy Police Chief Howard Jordan said that several weapons and other evidence of value linked the killing of Chauncey Bailey to members of the group. Police also recovered spent ammunition from the rooftops, and detained 19 people for questioning.

In addition to the bakeries, the police also raided nearby homes. In the 1000 block of 59th Street, police recovered, from a closet, the shotgun used in the killing of Bailey at the home where Broussard was also detained. The rear yard of the home connected directly to the bakery property. Police also raided a home in the 900 block of Aileen Street a few blocks east of the bakery. Of the 19 detainees on that morning, five were arrested along with Broussard, and Yusuf Bey IV, on probable cause arrest warrants, along with other outstanding arrest warrants, stemming from the prior investigations.

Broussard was booked on suspicion of murder on August 4, 2007, for the killing of Bailey, having told police detectives that he considered himself "a good soldier". Though other charges were made against those arrested, none of them were charged with Bailey's murder.

On August 7, 2007 Broussard was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court, on charges of murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Police continue to search for Broussard's white Ford Aerostar van, although they say they have an idea where it is located. In addition to two earlier missing suspects still at large, police now are seeking a third unnamed suspect affiliated with the bakery as well, in relation to the overall investigations.

The Chauncey Bailey Project

To continue Bailey's work and answer questions regarding his death, more than two dozen reporters, photographers and editors from print, broadcast and electronic media, and journalism students are launching the Chauncey Bailey Project. It is convened by New America Media, a project of Pacific News Service and the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. The Chauncey Bailey Project's Web site states that Devaughndre Broussard has confessed to the crime, according to police, but many questions about the possible motive for the killing have yet to be answered.

In June 2008, the Chauncey Bailey Project released a secretly recorded police video that reveals how Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV kept the gun used in the Chauncey Bailey killing in his closet after the attack and bragged of playing "hella dumb" when investigators asked him about the shooting. Bey goes on to describe Bailey's shooting in detail, then laughingly denies he was there, and boasts that his friendship with the case's lead detective protected him from charges. Bey also claims he knew he was being recorded.

The credibility of The Chauncey Bailey Project is not without its critics. Bay Area Investigative Journalist, Minister of Information JR, who hosts Block Report Radio daily on KPFA 94.1FM during afternoon drive hours, has issued a scathing indictment of the Chauncey Bailey Project in his column: A journalistic critique of the Chauncey Bailey Project. [529473]. JR has charged the project with allegations of inaccurate and "self-congratulatory" reporting.


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