July 31, 2008

Chauncey Bailey (Oakland Tribune/Courtesy The Associated Press)

Unfinished Business: The Chauncey Bailey Project

In the year since Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down on an Oakland, Calif., street, a group of journalists has banded together to continue his work and find his killer.

Bailey was killed Aug. 2, 2007, the first journalist since 1993 to be killed in the United States because of the work he was doing. At the time of his death, Bailey was investigating violence and financial fraud at Your Black Muslim Bakery, a local business.

A bakery handyman, Devaughndre Broussard, was arrested and confessed to Bailey’s murder. He later recanted his confession.

Meanwhile, the Chauncey Bailey Project — a large group of Oakland-area journalists and students — has uncovered more details about the case, including:

  • • The discovery and release of a video of bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV discussing details of the murder. So far, no charges have been filed against Bey.
  • • The history of the bakery, leading to new information about other murder and criminal investigations involving the establishment, some dating as far back as 1968.

The Chauncey Bailey Project is modeled after the Arizona Project, a five-month journalism investigation created by Investigative Reporters and Editors after Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles was killed by a car bomb in 1976. Bolles had written a series of stories on political corruption and organized crime.

Soon after his death, dozens of reporters came together to finish Bolles’s investigation of organized crime in Arizona which involved some of the state’s top business leaders and politicians. The resulting 23-part series ran in newspapers across the nation. Bolles’s Datsun — which spent 28 years in an impound lot — is currently on display at the Newseum. The story of the Arizona Project is available in the News Corporation News History Gallery.

Bailey is among the more than 1,800 journalists from around the world who are listed on the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial. For more information on Bailey, his murder and the Chauncey Bailey Project, visit chaunceybaileyproject.org.

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