Police: Bakers lived lawless life
Group linked to multiple murders
Editor Chauncey Bailey was gun downed in cold blood Thursday.
Police have linked his killing to members
of the Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland.
Photo courtesy Oakland
By Jeff Shuttleworth
August 3, 2007
Oakland police say that members of the Your Black Muslim Bakery,
who were arrested today in connection with three murders, including
that of journalist Chauncey Bailey, appear to have thought that
they were above the law.
Lt. Ersey Joyner, head of the homicide unit at the Oakland Police
Department, said, "In my opinion several members of the bakery
have been involved in a very violent enterprise and carried themselves
in a manner that was disrespectful to the community and to law
Joyner said, "They are very callous and appear to have believed
that they were untouchable."
Bailey, 57, was shot multiple times on 14th Street near Alice
Street shortly before 7:30 a.m. Thursday as he was walking to
his job as editor of the Oakland Post several blocks away at 405
Joyner said North Oakland residents who live near the bakery,
which is located at 5832 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland, "are
living in fear" and have been afraid to come forward to cooperate
with police, whom he said are investigating a series of murders,
assaults and kidnappings that they believe have been committed
by bakery members.
Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said the bakery's most prominent
member, Yusef Bey IV, 21, the grandson of Yusef Bey, who founded
the bakery in 1968, was one of seven people arrested in raids
at 5 a.m. today at the bakery and three other nearby locations.
Jordan said they are being held on suspicion they were responsible
for the murder of Bailey as well as the murders of Odell Roberson,
Jr., 31, on July 8 and Michael Wills, 36, on July 12.
Roberson and Wills were both killed near the bakery, Jordan said.
The seven suspects also are being held on suspicion of kidnapping
and assault for related incidents, Jordan said.
Two other suspects are still at large, he said.
Jordan said homicide investigators recognized similarities between
the murders of Roberson and Wills and found gun evidence that
links the two incidents.
Jordan said, "During our investigation of those incidents,
Chauncey Bailey was murdered" and gun evidence links the
suspects to that incident as well.
Jordan said Oakland police have been investigating people connected
to the bakery for more than a year and today's raid was planned
before Bailey was killed.
"It was very disheartening to hear of the incident (Bailey's
death) and to hear that it was connected to our investigation,"
"It's very unfortunate that Mr. Bailey was killed."
Joyner declined to talk about a motive for Bailey's death.
But Delmont Waqia, Bailey's brother-in-law, who attended the
Police Department's news conference on the raid and arrests, said
afterward that Bailey was working on a story about the bakery's
Jordan said he wanted to stress that police don't believe Your
Black Muslim Bakery has any connection to Louis Farrakhan and
the Nation of Islam.
Referring to the alleged criminal activity and today's arrests,
Jordan said, "This should not be seen as religious."
More than 200 heavily-armed officers from Oakland, Fremont, Hayward,
Livermore and the Alameda County Sheriff's offices conducted the
Joyner said officers found more than 100 casings that were to
be used in assault rifles.
Jordan said officers also closed the bakery because it had unsanitary
living and eating conditions.
Yusef Bey IV faces numerous other cases in jurisdictions throughout
the greater Bay Area.
He is scheduled to stand trial in San Francisco County Superior
Court in September on three counts of assault with a deadly weapon
for an April 28, 2006, incident in which he allegedly tried to
use his BMW to run down several bouncers after being thrown out
of the New Century Theater, a strip club on Larkin Street.
Bey and four other defendants also face charges that they vandalized
two West Oakland liquor stores on Nov. 23, 2005, because they
didn't want the stores to be selling alcohol in the black community.
A preliminary hearing for Bey and the other four men, which began
last spring, is scheduled to resume on Aug. 28, Deputy District
Attorney John Mifsud said today.
Two other defendants in the case pleaded no contest to felony
vandalism last year and have been sentenced. Charges were dropped
against two other defendants because of a lack of evidence.
Bey also faces four felony charges in Solano County for allegedly
fraudulently obtaining a car on Oct. 14, 2005, by using someone
else's identification to get credit to buy the vehicle.
Mifsud said Bey also faces four other unrelated cases in Alameda
County: felony vehicle theft and misdemeanor charges of petty
theft, resisting arrest and vehicle theft.
Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers said Bey and the other
suspects who were arrested today haven't been charged at this
time because Oakland police officers are still completing their
investigation and he won't see any police reports until Monday
at the earliest.
Bailey's sister, Lorelei Waqia, who came to Oakland from her
home in Atlanta after Bailey was killed, said funeral services
tentatively are scheduled for Wednesday but the arrangements haven't
been finalized yet.
Bailey's father, Chauncey Bailey, Sr., who lives in Des Moines,
Ia., attended today's police news conference along with Waqia
and her husband, Delmont Waqia.
Delmont Waqia said he wants to find out who killed Bailey and
thinks whoever was responsible "is a mixed up, confused youngster
who didn't realize what he was doing."
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