Wednesday marked a somber anniversary that may have been lost on most newer Oakland and Emeryville residents. 10 years ago, on August 2, 2007, 57-year-old Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down in broad daylight in Oakland. The hunt for his killer led to the Your Black Muslim Bakery at 5836 San Pablo Avenue in Oakland’s Golden Gate Neighborhood.
The scandal that unfolded gripped our region for many years following. Bailey was the first American journalist killed for domestic reporting since 1976.
Bailey, an African-American reporter from East Oakland, also worked for the Oakland Tribune and hosted his own radio show during his 37 year career. Bailey was shot three times with a shotgun near the McDonald’s on 14th street in Downtown Oakland while walking to work. The next day, what is described as “200 heavily armed Police officers“, raided the San Pablo Avenue bakery.
Your Black Muslim Bakery (YBMB) employee Devaughndre Broussard was arrested and later confessed to his killing. Broussard, along with three fellow suspects, were taped bragging about the crime and how they went to the Emeryville IHOP after Bailey’s killing. Broussard also confessed to killing Odell Roberson Jr. who was gunned down weeks earlier on 60th Street with an AK-47.
Yusuf Bey founded the bakery that sold baked goods in accordance with the Qur’an in Santa Barbara in 1968. Bey named the business on the personal recommendation of his spiritual guide, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Bey relocated to Oakland in 1971 with the headquarters being his San Pablo Avenue location. At its height in the mid-1990s YBMB had eight bakery outlets.
Things began to unravel for Bey in the late 1990’s when accusations of physical and sexual abuse began to surface. Bey turned himself in to Oakland Police in 2002 when a warrant was issued for his arrest alleging him of 27 counts of rape involving underaged girls. Bey died of cancer in October 2003 at age 67 while the first case was awaiting trial.
The businesses were left to Bey’s heirs, two of whom were killed in violent circumstances between 2004 and 2005. Yusuf Bey IV took over the business in 2005 and YBMB filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year later.
Bailey had been doing investigative reporting about corruption within the business and working on a series of stories that would expose the internal workings of the politically connected and well-known group and its leader. Bey IV apparently became aware of the pending coverage and ordered Broussard to perform the hit on Bailey.
Four years later, a jury convicted Yusuf Bey IV and his associate Antoine Mackey of ordering Bailey’s assassination. Broussard received 25 years in prison for his role as the gunman.
The San Pablo Ave building was auctioned to Vital Life Services in 2007 for one million dollars. Some “disciples” of Bey broke off and founded BMT (Black Muslim Temple) International Security Services according to this 2014 EBT piece.
In the wake of the killing, a consortium of local journalists launched The Chauncey Bailey Project with the support of The Center for Investigative Reporting (now Emeryville-based Reveal) to investigate his killing and finish the stories he began. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Thomas Peele is heading efforts to create a memorial in Bailey’s honor.
Feature Image: Bob Larson/Contra Costa Times
Further Reading & Resources
Your Black Muslim Bakery ex-associate charged with real-estate fraud | Contra Costa Times
AK-47 linked to Black Muslim bakery killed 2 men, Oakland cops say | SF Gate
Disciple of Your Black Muslim Bakery raises new group in Oakland | insidebayarea.com
The Chauncey Bailey Project | Center for Investigative Reporting
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Hard to believe it’s been 10 years. I knew Chauncey from the 90s when he was a reporter for the Oakland Tribune. He did a story about a group I founded in West Oakland called Urban FIRE which helped community residents start neighborhood businesses. He stayed in touch and about a year before his death, he asked if I’d take over his radio show. I did for about six months but my other work load was too much. Chauncey’s work with the Post sometimes was a mouthpiece for certain Oakland groups but he was an old school journalist through and through. His departure was felt across the East Bay.
[…] Black Muslim Bakeries. Employees of the YBMB on San Pablo Avenue were complicit in the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey in 2007 among other criminal […]
[…] Employees of the Your Black Muslim Bakery on San Pablo Avenue were complicit in the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey in 2007 among other criminal […]
I met Chauncey when the Post newspaper hosted fashion shows at ZAZOO’S. He became a great friend and I respected him a lot. Had a lot of fun.