Bakery leader indicted in journalist’s slaying
OAKLAND — More than a year and a half after Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down while walking to work, an Alameda County grand jury indicted the leader of the now-defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery on Wednesday on charges that he ordered the journalist killed.
The indictment accuses Yusuf Bey IV, 23, of murder for allegedly telling two followers to kill the 57-year-old Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007. The grand jury that returned the indictment heard two days of testimony last week from the alleged gunman, Devaughndre Broussard, 21, who until Wednesday was the only person charged in Bailey’s death.
Broussard, a former handyman at the bakery, told prosecutors in March that Bey wanted Bailey dead because he believed the journalist was working on a story about Your Black Muslim Bakery’s internal problems. He said Bey also blamed Bailey for the 2003 death of his father, Yusuf Bey, who founded the black self-empowerment group in 1968 and led it until dying of cancer.
In addition to Bailey’s slaying, the indictment accuses Bey of murder for allegedly ordering the killings of two men in July 2007, 36-year-old Michael Wills and Odell Roberson Jr., 31. He is also accused in a December 2006 incident in which someone shot into an unoccupied car in Oakland.
Bakery’s rise and fall
Your Black Muslim Bakery was perhaps the Bay Area’s most visible Black Muslim institution in its prime, but even before Broussard turned against Bey, the Oakland group had been racked by turmoil and finally collapsed.
The elder Bey, founder of the bakery, took the teachings of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and turned them into largely secular mantras for his bakery, which was incorporated as a for-profit business in 1968.
Bey won contracts to sell his preservative-free pies and goods at many venues. But the core of the business was showing that the most underprivileged, disenfranchised black people “could be independent and successful people if given the chance,” his oldest biological son, Yusuf Bey Jr., said in a 2007 interview.
The elder Bey, however, was tarnished by accusations near the end of his life that he had impregnated girls who were associated with the bakery. After his death, Yusuf Bey IV emerged from a series of power struggles to take control.
Bey IV was soon accused of leading a gang of bakery followers in trashing two Oakland stores for selling liquor. He also took the bakery into bankruptcy proceedings, then tried to back out. Even with its damaged reputation, the bakery was able to secure endorsement letters in the bankruptcy case from Mayor Ron Dellums and Rep. Barbara Lee, although she later withdrew hers.
Yusuf Bey IV discusses religious beliefs in jail calls
OAKLAND — Yusuf Bey IV sometimes claims to be God. He says recent world crises and natural disasters happened because he has been in jail the past 20 months. Like his late father, Yusuf Bey, he says it is right to have more than one wife.
He thinks a “mother ship” orbits the Earth — one with which he maintains contact.
He thinks President Barack Obama is secretly a Black Muslim who sent Bey IV a clandestine message by wearing a red tie at his inauguration. His presidency was predicted by prophecy — it is a sign of the approaching end times. Bey IV says that when he’s exonerated on the charges he now faces — including those of ordering the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey — he will take his rightful place as a presidential adviser.
The conversations reveal much about Bey IV, who is accused of offering two of his followers advice on how to acquire loans through fraud in exchange for killing Bailey, and ordering what one of them described in testimony as an “eye for eye” slaying of a relative of a man convicted of killing his brother Antar Bey in 2005.
In the phone calls, Bey IV often espouses beliefs similar to the rancorous screeds his father made for years on a weekly cable television show and during his 1994 campaign for Oakland mayor that imploded behind anti-Semitic statements.
The now defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery is best described as a “splinter group or faction” of the Nation of Islam that became its own sect, said Paul Lee, a Detroit historian on the Nation of Islam who knew and studied Bey.
Visit The Chauncey Bailey Project for indepth information.
Black Muslim Bakery has had a long and checkered history