The Curious Case of Yusef Bey IV
The Minister of Information JR interviews Jannah Bey, the sister of Yusef Bey IV, who is on trial for the murder of reporter Chauncey Bailey currently in Oakland, California.
A, 57-year old journalist Chauncey Bailey was walking to work when he was shot dead. Just before 7.30 a.m., a young man in dark clothing and wearing a ski mask shot Bailey three times with a sawed-off shotgun in the 250 block of 14th Street, Oakland, California. After the killing, the gunman was driven away in a white van. Bailey’s fiancée, Deborah Oduwa, saw his body in the funeral home. She claimed that the shotgun had sheared his face off. Oduwa said: “He died a horrible death. It’s traumatic. I think it will damage me for the rest of my life.”
At the time of his death, Bailey had been working on an investigation of the empire of the Black Muslims, a local group unconnected with the Nation of Islam. When he was shot, Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan had claimed that Yusuf Bey IV, the heir to the Black Muslim empire, was possibly behind the killing.
The day after Bailey’s murder, a raid was made upon the main building of the “empire”, a bakery in San Pablo Avenue called Your Black Muslim Bakery. The raid on the bakery had been planned long before Chauncey Bailey was killed. Nineteen individuals were arrested, and weapons were recovered. Spent ammunition was found on the bakery’s roof. Yusef Bey IV was among the people brought in for questioning. On Saturday, August 4, one of the arrested men, a 19-year old handyman employed at the bakery named Devaughndre Broussard, confessed to the killing of the journalist, who was also editor of the Oakland Post.
On Wednesday, November 21, a preliminary hearing took place, where evidence against Broussard was presented before Alameda Superior Court Judge Robert McGuiness. The judge decided that there was enough evidence to go ahead with a full trial. On December 7, Broussard is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of murder and possessing a firearm.
At the preliminary hearing, Broussard’s taped confession was played. Additionally, two phone calls that Broussard had made from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin were heard. One of these, where Broussard was crying, was made to an unidentified man. “You aint ever going to see me again. They got me for murder,” Broussard said. He said that he had confessed to the murder.
The man responded: “No you didn’t you stupid ass n****! What is wrong with you? Ain’t nothing we can do now… I told you to leave those f***ing Muslims alone. Why didn’t you listen to me? If you would have you wouldn’t be where you’re at right now.”
Broussard, when aged 15, had won a contest for young entrepreneurs set up by UC Berkeley. On October 31, 2005, he had robbed and assaulted Christopher Hall, a young traveler on the Municipal Railway in San Fransisco, fracturing his victim’s nose and giving him blurred vision. Broussard was given a sentence of probation.
Two days before Broussard’s hearing, another trial involving the Black Muslims had reached a verdict. On Monday, November 19, 22-year old Alfonza Phillips III was found guilty of the murder of Antar Bey a former leader of the Black Muslims. Phillips was also found guilty of car-jacking, possession of a firearm by a felon and also of enhancements which included the use of and discharge of a firearm.
In 2004, Antar Bey (pictured) had taken over the running of the Black Muslims‘ business empire that had been established by Yusef Bey senior. Yusef Bey had died of colon cancer on September 30, 2003. His empire had grown from humble beginnings in the 1960s, starting with the establishment of the bakery, and later involving real estate, security firms, small retail outlets and even a school. By the time Yusuf Bey had died, he had left at least forty offspring, and numerous “adopted” sons.
Yusuf Bey had officially handed over the running of his empire to one of these “adopted” sons, 51-year old Waajid Aljawaad Bey. On February 29, 2004, Waajid Aljawaad Bey disappeared. His decomposing remains were found on July 20, 2004. Bey had been interred in a shallow grave close to a trail in King Estates Park in the Oakland Hills. The case has never been solved. Before Waajid Aljawaad Bey had been discovered, and his death recorded as homicide, Antar Bey had assumed the mantle of power, calling himself Captain Antar Bey.
A month before the rotting body of his predecessor had been found, Antar Bey had been named in a restraining order issued by Farieda Bey, widow of Yusuf Bey senior. She claimed Antar Bey – born Akeem Brown – had intimidated her. He had sent men to break down a door and change the locks to a room in the “Your Black Muslim Bakery” where she had formerly lived with her late husband. Farieda Bey claimed that Antar Bey “has guns.”
Antar Bey‘s leadership of the Black Muslim empire was marked by violence and threats. Ali Saleem Bey, a son-in-law of Yusuf Bey senior, admits to being Chauncy Bailey’s main informant for stories about the inner workings of the Bey empire. Ali Saleem also maintained that Antar Bey had gained control of “Your Black Muslim Bakery” on San Pablo Avenue with a forged document. He ruled the empire with the assistance of thug henchmen
Before Yusuf Bey senior died, journalist Chris Thompson had written accounts of the violence and corruption among the Black Muslims. He also wrote of the charges which had been brought against Bey senior involving sexual assault of young girls. The abuses had been carried out for years, but Alameda County Child Protective Services had apparently ignored complaints. At the time of his death, Yusuf Bey senior was awaiting trial on 27 counts of sexual abuse.
Chris Thompson, as well as Chauncey Bailey, had been receiving death threats since 2002. After Waajid Aljawaad Bey’s rotting corpse was discovered, the threats against Thompson increased. In June of 2005, another of the Bey “family” was ambushed. 41-year old John Bey was a senior manager at Universal Distributors Security, a lucrative company within the Black Muslim empire. As he left his home one morning in Indian Way, Montclair, he was attacked by a gunman and shot at several times with a shotgun. He was seriously wounded. Though he survived the apparent assassination attempt, John Bey was unnerved and left the neighborhood.
On the early evening of October 25, 2005, Antar Bey drove his black BMW 745i sedan into the Union 76 gas station at 55th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland. As he waited for the fuel tank to fill, Bey stepped back from the vehicle, talking on his cell phone. A young man shot him in the back of the head with a .44 Magnum revolver, in what police claimed at the time was a failed attempt at car-jacking. At the time, journalists speculated that Antar Bey‘s killing had been an assassination, part of a power struggle for leadership of the Bey empire.
Shortly after Antar Bey‘s killing, Alfonza Phillips III was arrested. His trial had started on Monday October 29, 2007. The prosecution maintained during the trial that there had been no assassination attempt. It was stated that Phillips had intended to steal Bey’s $75,000 BMW vehicle and to give its 22-inch rims to Althea Foy, his girlfriend who works for the postal service.
Leonard Ulfelder, Phillips’ attorney, made a claim against a member of Oakland police’s homicide squad, Sergeant Derwin Longmire. Ulfelder claimed that Longmire had pressured Foy, threatening that if she did not give a statement against Phillips, a “swarm of Muslims” would harm both her and her family. Althea Foy took the stand and claimed that her boyfriend had never told her he had killed Bey, as the prosecution alleged. She said Longmire had subjected her to pressure which caused her to tell him “everything I thought he wanted to hear”. She also claimed that at an earlier court hearing, Antar Bey‘s relatives had photographed her with her mother, outside the courtroom.
Ulfelder argued during the trial that the killing of Antar Bey had been an assassination connected with a power struggle at the bakery. Colleen McMahon, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney, countered that as Ulfelder had provided no witnesses who claimed this, there was “not a shred of evidence” to support his claim. She said: “This incident was a hit? If that were the case, the shooter would have made darn sure that he (Bey) was dead and shot him multiple times.”
McMahon played jurors a tape of a phone conversation which took place between Phillips and his girlfriend. He was speaking to her from jail. Phillips was heard to say “Stay silent. You hear me, stay silent n****r.” Foy replied: “I know.” In another part of the conversation, Phillips referred to a police informant who had claimed Phillips had told him he had killed Antar Bey. In the tape, Phillips said: “I heard that n****r. That n****r sounded like he was high as f*** when he went in there.” When he was convicted, Phillips smirked.
The events which had led up to the August arrests had involved investigations into the killings of two men. On July 8, 2007. 31-year old Odell Robertson Jr. was gunned down. On July 12, 36-year old sous-chef Michael J. Wills Jr. was shot dead in San Pablo Avenue. Wills had addresses in Oakland and Freemont. Both had been killed with the same AK-47 assault rifle. Odell Robertson was the uncle of Alfonza Phillips III, killer of Antar Bey.
In September 2007, it was revealed that the shotgun which was used to kill Chauncey Bailey was also the same weapon which had been used in the attack on John Bey in June 2005. It was also used in an attack upon a car which took place in December 2006. The shotgun had blasted out the windows of the vehicle, which belonged to a former boyfriend of the girlfriend of the current leader of the Black Muslims of Oakland, Yusuf Bey IV, now aged 21.
Since the August 3 arrests at Your Black Muslim Bakery, Yusuf Bey IV has been kept in jail. He replaced his elder brother Antar Bey as head of the empire in November 2005, aged 19. Almost as soon as he had taken control of the group, he was accused of leading vigilante campaigns against stores owned by genuine Muslims (as opposed to adherents of the racist Bey creed inspired by Elijah Muhammad).
On November 23, 2005, two stores – the San Pablo Market and Liquor at 2363 San Pablo Ave. and New York Market at 3446 Market St were visited by about a dozen smartly-dressed black men. These told the store owners to stop selling liquor to black customers. They then smashed up the stores. Another store on Third Street was also vandalized. The manner of the attacks echoed an incident from 1993. Then, employees of a laundry owned by Yusuf Bey senior had attacked a store in North Richmond, knocking food and liquor onto the ground. Bey senior had then justified the incident by claiming the store had been a venue for drug dealers.
Following the 2005 attacks on the stores, the New York Market was apparently “punished” for not complying with its orders. Five days after being vandalized, the store was gutted in an arson attack. The 19-year old store clerk had been kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a car. Closed circuit video footage of the original attacks upon the stores allowed police to identify suspects and issue arrest warrants. Yusuf Bey IV was among those identified and subsequently charged.
Yusuf Bey IV gave a press conference in December 2005 (pictured), accompanied by Lorna Brown, the defense attorney who represents him and who had also defended his father against charges of sexual abuse. Instead of condemning the attacks against the stores, Yusuf Bey IV appeared to condone them, saying of the Yemeni store-owners: “In their home countries they’d be killed for selling alcohol.”
Despite facing charges connected with the attacks upon the liquor-vending stores, as well as earlier charges of grand theft of a vehicle and obtaining property under false pretenses, (using someone else’s credit card to obtain a $55,000 vehicle from a car lot in Solano County) Yusuf Bey IV continued to flout the law.
On March 30, 2006 he was due to attend a court in Freemont on charges of resisting a police officer, an event which had taken place in June 2005. When police were called to an incident where Bey had been arguing with the owner of a movie theater, he had refused to let a female police officer question him. Bey failed to turn up at the Freemont court, and an arrest warrant was served on him. On April 6, 2006, while driving without plates or registration, he was stopped by police and arrested over the warrant.
On April 28, 2006, a visit to a San Fransisco strip joint with his friends led to problems. His entourage was expelled from the venue for interfering with the entertainers, and then Bey apparently drove his BMW into one of the bouncers. This bouncer was injured, and then Bey allegedly tried to run over another bouncer. He was charged with aggravated assault.
In May of this year, Bey and some of his entourage were apparently involved in a case of kidnap and torture. On Thursday August 30 Bey and two associates from Your Black Muslim Bakery appeared in court. Bey pleaded “not guilty” to more than two dozen charges of felony, which included Kidnapping, torture and real estate fraud. Bey’s two co-accused are 21-year old Joshua Bey and 20-year old Tamon Halfin (pictured)
On May 17, Bey was allegedly driving around in a black Ford Crown Victoria vehicle, made to look like a police car. They were apparently looking for people with money. They identified a woman and her daughter who had left a bingo session and were driving along Interstate 580. The two women’s vehicle was stopped, and the women were taken in the fake police car to a house in Avenal Avenue, East Oakland. Here the daughter was handcuffed and tortured with a knife, in an attempt to make her give money or contact someone who had money. Her mother was kept locked in another car outside. The daughter’s ordeal ended when a police officer saw the fake “police car” and went to investigate. The assailants fled on foot, and the woman could be heard screaming.
In October, DNA taken from the knife used to torture the young woman was used to add a fourth man to the three already charged. This individual is Yusuf Bey IV’s half-brother, Yusuf Bey V. Twice in the courtroom, Bey V said that the case against him was “bullshit”. Additional DNA samples cannot be ruled out as belonging to his half-brother, Yusuf Bey IV.
The charges of real estate fraud were made shortly before Yusuf Bey IV, Joshua Bey and Tamon Halfin were due to appear in court. Yusuf Bey IV is accused of stealing an identity and employing a fake driver’s license to secure loans, which he then used to buy a house at 2514 61st Avenue, Oakland.
Tamon Halfin is accused of using a fake identity – Jason Peterson – to secure more than $1 million in mortgage loans for two properties in Oakland. He was said to have forged a Bank of America document.
Bey appears to be not the only person connected with the empire who is believed to have used real estate fraud to acquire properties. Esperanza Johnson, aka Noor Jehan Bey, has twice been accused of fraud. She and her husband Antron Thurman have gained $2 million of real estate in deals which are controversial, if not fraudulent.
After Chauncy Bailey was killed for investigating the illegal dealings of the Bey empire, a grouping of journalists was formed in October, to continue his investigations. Called the Chauncey Bailey Project, its members have examined the controversial land deals of Esperanza Johnson and her husband, transactions have led to other individuals claiming to have lost more than $1.77 million.
The San Pablo Avenue bakery was closed down by food inspectors when the August 3 raid took place, after unhygienic conditions were found inside. On September 6, Your Black Muslim Bakery was placed on the market. Originally, the company had tried to declare bankruptcy, which may have kept the building from being immediately sold off, but in late August the business’s voluntary claim was reclassified as Chapter 7 liquidation. The bakery building was offered for sale at a price of $899,000. A bid, which will be ratified at a hearing set for November 29, has already been made for the bakery property. The bidder, Paulette Arbuckle, is a client of Esmeralda Johnson. Johnson’s business registration was suspended in 2006, as she owed about $1 million in tax.
Yusuf Bey IV’s mother is Daulet Bey, one of the many “wives” of Yusuf Bey senior. Daulet raised eight offspring of the founder of the empire. Tevis Thompson, the bankruptcy trustee who was selling off Your Black Muslim Bakery, has filed suit against Daulet Bey. It is claimed by Thompson that three bakery-owned properties, worth $2.28 million, were “gifted” to Daulet Bey in February 2006, before the business officially declared its “bankruptcy”. In a legal statement, Thompson claimed that the gifting of the properties was an attempt “to hinder, delay or defraud creditors,” and requested they be returned to the bakery and trustee.
Last week, three of Yusuf Bey senior’s “wives” testified that while the founder of the business empire established his companies, he also created an elaborate scheme of welfare fraud which involved the roughly 100 women whom he claimed as “wives”.
The welfare fraud started in the 1970s, and only ended when Bey senior died. The three women claimed that the welfare fraud had been assisted by two employees of the Alameda County Social Services Agency, who were sisters-in-law to Bey senior. The two employees were responsible for selecting people who should become recipients of welfare assistance.
The three “wives” maintained that payments for children, fraudulently obtained, went into the bakery funds, along with Section 8 rent vouchers, and medical funds designed to assist the poorest inhabitants of California. By demanding that his “wives” refused to name him on their children’s birth certificates, Bey’s income was not revealed in the wives’ claims.
The case of the Black Muslim empire under the leadership of Yusuf Bey senior, down to Yusuf Bey IV, reads like a script from a colorful gangster movie. Questions need to be asked about how such a violent and corrupt organization could flourish for so long in a region already troubled by violence and crime. The group had official patronage. According to journalist Chris Thompson, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and City Councilmember Larry Reid provided letters of support in 1995 when Nedir Bey, one of Bey senior’s adopted sons, stood trial on charges of beating and torturing a Nigerian man, .
Tarika Lewis was the stepmother of two young girls. She alleged that Yusuf Bey senior beat and raped these children, but over five years of complaining to law enforcement and child welfare agencies, no action was taken.
State Senator Don Perata had written a letter of praise for Yusuf Bey senior. He wrote: “The leadership you provide should be an inspiration to all concerned over the city’s future.” The handwritten letter was displayed in Your Black Muslim Bakery, enclosed in a frame and hanging above the pie case.
Court records connected with Tarika Lewis’ claims against Bey senior showed that at least two senior police officials claimed that Oakland Police turned a blind eye while members of the Bey empire enacted “vigilante justice”.
The same allegations have resurfaced again, in the recent trial of Alfonza Phillips and also the preliminary hearing of Devaughndre Broussard. The lawyer acting for Broussard, LeRue Grim, has claimed that a senior police officer deliberately allowed his client to be left in a room with Yusuf Bey IV, and during this meeting, Broussard was ordered to “take the fall” for Chauncey Bailey‘s killing. Police reports maintain that it took only six minutes of being officially questioned before Broussard made his confession. Broussard has subsequently recanted.
The officer is 43-year old Sergeant Derwin Longmire. In a videotape seen by the San Francisco Chronicle, Yusuf Bey IV is heard saying: “The reason they didn’t pin the (Bailey) murder on me was because of Longmire.” Lorna Brown, the attorney for Yusuf Bey IV, has said that Longmire had acted as a “mentor” for her client. She said: “I always had the feeling that Longmire had Yusuf’s best interests at heart, and that he was trying to help another young African American guy.”
During her testimony at Alfonza Phillips’ trial, Althea Foy had claimed that Longmire had said that he “hadn’t slapped a young black bitch around in a long time,” and told her that she was “lucky to still have her teeth,” before warning her of a “swarm of Muslims” that would harm her and her family, should she decide not to cooperate.
The more that one looks into the dealings of the Bey empire and the activities of Oakland‘s Black Muslims, the more murky and seedy the picture becomes. And more questions emerge, such as how could members of the political elite in Oakland and Alameda County allow themselves to endorse a group that espoused racist and anti-Semitic views? A group that is now becoming revealed so obviously as a “front” for a long-running criminal enterprise.