California Journalist Death Finally Gets Court Justice in Life Sentence for Assailants

Popular journalist in the Oakland, Ca., area, Chauncey Bailey, 57, was assassinated over reporting a story on the demise of Your Black Muslim Bakery in 2007.

It’s been four years since the life of a local journalist for the Oakland Post in Oakland, Ca., was taken and a community shattered.  But, the senseless murder finally saw some justice as two men directly responsible for the slaying were found guilty and are facing life sentences in prison.

According to the Oakland Tribune, Chauncey Bailey, 57, was promoted to editor of the Oakland Post only weeks before he was murdered.  The court found Yusuf Bey IV, 25, owner of Your Black Muslim Bakery, guilty of not only Bailey’s murder, but two other men as well.  One of the prosecutors said that Bey IV “terrorized Oakland.”  Bey IV did not do his own dirty work though.  He ordered two men that worked for him at the bakery to kill Bailey because he was preparing to print a story on the financial downfall of the bakery.

The two men ordered to kill Bailey as well as Odell Roberson, 31, a homeless man, and Michael Wills, 36, who was said to be killed for being white, are Antoine Mackey and Devaughndre Broussard.  Broussard accepted a plea deal to keep him from receiving a life sentence.  His testimony led to the arrests of both Mackey and Bey IV.  Broussard told police that Bey IV ordered the hits on these three men and that he was the trigger man in the death of Chauncey Bailey.  Broussard will be sentenced to 25 years in prison.  Sentencing for all three men is set for July 8.

Bailey is the second journalist to be killed over a local story printed in a U.S. paper since the 1976 car bombing of Arizona Republic’s Don Bolles.   According to Richard Prince’s Journal-isms, it was that journalist whose death sparked the thought of building a coalition of journalists that would put their skills together to seek the guilty parties responsible for Bailey’s death. The group called the Chauncey Bailey Project, investigated the case and kept the Oakland Police Department’s actively pursuing the murderers.

“…The group came together after a suggestion to the Journal-isms message board by Boston freelance journalist Kenneth Cooper on Aug. 7.  “I’m thinking of the example of Don [Bolles], the investigative reporter the Mafia killed in Arizona some years ago, and daily papers responded by sending their investigative reporters to finish up his work,” Cooper said in a separate email. “That was the start of Investigative Reporters and Editors. I mentioned this to Greg Moore, editor of the Denver Post, and he was intrigued. He was going to contact the National Newspaper Publishers Association about it.”

Also reported by Journal-isms, Robert Rosenthal, executive editor of the Chauncey Bailey Project and head of the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting, was quoted:

“One was to continue Chauncey’s work and to make sure that when a journalist is murdered because of their work justice is served. There is no doubt that the work of the project helped keep law enforcement focused on this case, and revealed facts and evidence that may have never been disclosed. Today’s verdict is a reminder that journalists do make a difference and that their work is crucial to our democracy.”

See the reaction of the families and the report on the case below.

-J.C. Brooks

Reaction from family members:

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