Burris sues Police for Misconduct Again
By Post Staff
In the wake of news reports uncovering failures of the Oakland Police Department to fully investigate the killing of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, Mayor Ron Dellums is asking Attorney General Jerry Brown to conduct an independent probe of the department’s handling of the case.
“I have asked the California State Attorney General to conduct an independent investigation into the Oakland Police Department’s handling of the Chauncey Bailey murder investigation,” Dellums said in a news release Tuesday.
In addition, Dellums requested that a retired judge or expert in criminal investigations be assigned to participate in the process to “further enhance the objectivity of this investigation,” he said.
A series of news reports were published in the Oakland Tribune Saturday, Sunday and Monday, produced by a team of reporters called The Chauncey Bailey Project. In the series, the project reported that lead detective Derwin Longmire, had failed to document in his notes evidence that linked Yusuf Bey IV, leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery, to the slaying.
The evidence includes a tracking device that shows Bey IV stalked Bailey seven hours before the killing, According to the project, Longmire’s case notes do not document any analysis of Bey IV’s cell pone records, which were obtained with a warrant. They also show a series of calls within minutes of the killing.
Besides ignoring evidence in the Bailey case, documentary evidence indicates that Longmire interfered in two other felony investigations in which Bey IV was a suspect, according the Bailey project.
Bailey was killed Aug. 2, 2007, as he walked to work at the Oakland Post. A former handyman at the bakery, Devaughndre Broussard, is the only person charged in the killing. His trial is set for early next year.
Dellums said the probe would run parallel to the current internal police investigation of Sgt. Longmire “While I respect and appreciate the great work of the men and women at OPD, the residents of Oakland deserve to know that this investigation is being conducted with the utmost transparency, openness and integrity,” he said.
Dellums told reporters that he did not want Longmire to have anything to do with the Bailey case. “I don’t think he’s on there right now,” he said of Longmire, but said he didn’t know the detective’s status.
Reporters Without Borders, which called for a federal takeover of the probe earlier this year, praised Dellums’ decision, saying the probe had been “enmeshed in local conflicts of interest” and called for “a thorough and independent investigation” into why important information had been omitted by Longmire and why key suspects had not yet been charged. Those who organized and committed Bailey’s murder had to be found and punished, it said, and “a clear signal” had to be sent to those who think they can target investigative journalists without facing reprisals.
Public scrutiny of OPD may be heightened by new allegations that arose this week in an unrelated federal class-action lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday by civil rights attorney John Burris against the City and an officer who reportedly made “misstatements” on sworn affidavits while seeking approval for search warrants.
Comparing this case with the Riders scandal, which was supposedly resolved, this situation raises the specter of “rogue officers, undisciplined officers, untruthful officers,” Burris said.
Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb applauded Mayor Dellums for his courage. He said Attorney General Brown should recuse himself because of the appearance of conflict and bias. Cobb cited Brown’s meetings with the Bakery leader and his destruction of the files, correspondence and documents relating to the Bakery and the many issues that Chauncey Bailey was writing about before he was slain.
“We asked Reporters Without Borders to help us petition for a federal investigation nearly a year ago because of Brown’s past involvement with police personnel selection and with the oversight of a federal judge on Oakland’s police problem. When Brown said he was running for governor and would not comment on any issues unless it was towards that end, then we can expect a politicized investigation,” said Cobb. He also said it would be “prudent for Deputy Chief Howard Jordan to recuse himself from the investigation as well.”