Yusuf Bey and some bakery workers ran at least three security companies that had multiple contracts in the Bay Area at various times, including at the Oakland Ice Center, the Marriott Hotel and convention center and at other hotels, apartment complexes, schools and night clubs.
The contracts were an important budget item for Yusuf Bey, at times employing up to 65 people, who earned an estimated $10 to $13 an hour, and sometimes grossing more than $1 million a year, according to business credit reports.
Bey's first security company, according to state licensing records, was the YBMB Security Department, which acquired a security license in 1992. The YBMB license expired in 2000. A newer, related company, EM Security Services, was first licensed in 1997, but its license expired in 2001. Later, the company renewed its license and kept it current until 2003.
This on-again, off-again licensing became an issue in 2001 when an Oakland Tribune investigation discovered that Universal Distributors, a Bey company that provided security at the Marriott hotel and convention center in downtown Oakland and submitted the favored bid to provide security at Oakland International Airport, had never been licensed at all and employed some ex-felons who might not pass background checks.
Bakery security guard Mustafa Bey disputed the state records, telling Tribune reporters that Universal Distributors had a license but there had been "discrepancies and
State law requires that companies providing private security services be licensed with the state's Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.
In adding security companies to his bakery business, Yusuf Bey was following in the footsteps of the Nation of Islam, which first began providing security guards in 1988 at two apartment complexes in Washington, D.C., and started its first security company, N.O.I. Security Agency, in 1990, according to The New York Times.
For both the Nation and for Bey, the security guards were a natural outgrowth of their paramilitary groups called Fruit of Islam, where marching young black men were taught order and discipline. Like the Nation of Islam security teams, Bey's security guards received praise from supporters for maintaining order, freeing areas of drugs and violence and promoting black empowerment, while critics denounced them for being violent themselves.
In police reports, officers alleged that the following incidents involved Bey's security guards:
n In 1994, in an apartment complex on 24th Street in Oakland where the bakery provided security and bakery member Basheer Muhammad was manager, bakery men Nedir Bey, Abaz Bey, Larry Chin and Muhammad assaulted and tortured a man over a real estate deal, police said. When police responded, they were met by about 30 belligerent bakery men, they said. Nedir Bey carried out most of the assault, in Abaz's apartment, police said. Yusuf Bey publicly defended his "adopted" sons Nedir and Abaz.
n In 1997, a tenant in the 24th Street apartments was beat up by bakery employees, according to police records. Residents complained of many threats and confrontations at the apartment building.
After Yusuf Bey died in 2003, some of his followers started their own security companies. For example, Yusuf Bey III and his mother, Esperanza Johnson, started Distinguished Security Services in February 2006 to provide detective and armored car services, according to state records. But the company is not licensed by the state Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, and it could not be located for comment.
Yusuf Bey IV, who became CEO of Your Black Muslim Bakery in November 2005 after the two men who succeeded his father were murdered, never had a licensed security company, according to state records.
Bey IV and his security guards were suspected of at least six incidents of shootings, beatings and torture in the 11 months before Bey IV was arrested Aug. 3, 2007, according to police reports. He is still in jail, awaiting trial.
n On Aug. 25, 2006, Bey IV's brothers, Yusuf Bey V and Fard, were charged with beating a man when he refused to move the car he was unloading in front of his business on High Street in Oakland. The bakery had a security contract in this area. Police said more bakery people arrived in the lot and would not leave when told to do so.
Chauncey Bailey Project reporters and researchers contributed to this report.