News

June 9, 2011 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Justice served in Chauncey Bailey murder trial


Reporters Without Borders is relieved that justice has been served in the case of murdered journalist Chauncey Bailey. However, it won’t erase the lack of efficiency and fairness on the part of the local police handling his case. The organization now hopes that lessons will be drawn from this case and that journalists will be able to perform their job as they have a right to. On June 9th 2011, an Alameda County jury convicted Yusuf Bey IV and his accomplice Antoine Mackey, both 25, of the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey on August 2nd 2007. Mackey and Bey IV had pleaded not guilty to all charges. The jury started deliberating on May 23. "It has been widely acknowledged that Bailey’s stories cost him his life, and even that the Oakland police had a responsibility for it”, Reporters Without Borders said. “However, the police, Bey and Mackey did not admit their responsibility. The threats against journalists on this case are not over. We urge the local authorities to guarantee a safe environment for the reporters working on corruption in the area”. On April 27th, Alameda County deputy district attorney Christopher Lamiero, presented evidence from two years ago to a grand jury that indicted Bey IV, the former leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery, and Mackey for the death of Bailey. According to a former Bakery worker he interviewed, Bey IV said that Bailey was writing "slanderous" stories and "I did what I had to do". And on May 3rd, police recordings were presented in which Bey IV said several times that Bailey had "slandered" the business and his late father. During the trial, which started on March 21st 2011, two main obstacles on freedom of information happened. A journalist for Bay Area News Group and friend and colleague of Bailey’s, Josh Richman, was threatened while investigating two civil real estate lawsuit cases that linked to one of Bey IV’s former accomplices in a 2005 vandalism case. In an interview with Reporters Without Borders, he declared : “Intimidation and violence is not going to stop the journalists community from doing their jobs” (read the full story). On May 19th, the local KTVU Channel 2 News published that it had obtained hundreds of pages of legal documents acknowledging that the police postponed the raid and agreed to cover-up for the media. KTVU had been prevented from publishing them before because of a gag order imposed by the command staff of the Oakland Police Department. “The surroundings of Chauncey Bailey’s murder have never been clear. And even the trial was full of lies and amnesia, giving little room for the truth, which shows the very difficult context of Bailey’s investigation. But most of all, it also shows that Bailey should have never been killed”, continued Reporters Without Borders. In June 2008, the Chauncey Bailey Project released a secretly recorded police video that reveals how 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. In 2009, both Bey IV and Mackey were indicted after the testimony of a former Bakery handyman, Devaughndre Broussard, 21 at the time, who admitted to firing the shotgun blasts that killed Bailey - as well as 2 other men. His testimony implicated Bey IV as the man that ordered Bailey be killed, and co-defendant Mackey as an accomplice. The defense has argued that Broussard implicated Bey IV and Mackey in order to receive a reduced sentence. Broussard agreed to a plea deal that carries a 25-year prison sentence. Bailey, 57, was shot to death as he walked to his job at the Oakland Post. He was working on a story about the financial turmoil and other issues surrounding Your Black Muslim Bakery, a bakery opened by Yusuf Bey in 1968 in Santa Barbara, California, and relocated to Oakland in 1971. Reporters Without Borders would like to thank the Chauncey Bailey Project for their exemplary investigatory work and praise the mobilisation of Chauncey Bailey’s colleagues throughout this investigation. See our Chronology of the Chauncey Bailey case.