OAKLAND — The Oakland Police internal affairs and state Department of Justice investigations into the handling of journalist Chauncey Bailey's killing have expanded beyond that case's lead detective to now include two top city police officials, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
Deputy Chief Jeffrey Loman and homicide Lt. Ersie Joyner are now under investigation along with Detective Sgt. Derwin Longmire, sources said Friday.
The local probe is now focused on whether Loman and Joyner improperly supervised Longmire's handling of the Bailey investigation. That information will be turned over to state investigators.
The Bailey project has reported that Longmire didn't pursue obvious leads pointing to a conspiracy to kill the journalist by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery and its former leader, Yusef Bey IV.
Joyner did not return phone calls Friday. Loman's voice mail was not accepting messages. Neither responded to e-mails. Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said in an e-mail that the department had no comment.
On Thursday, state investigators took records out of police headquarters that include documents related to other investigations of the bakery and the Bey family, sources said.
Joyner is Longmire's direct boss. At the time of Bailey's killing, Loman was a captain in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division. Joyner reported to him. The two were former homicide-unit partners. Sources said the two men and Longmire are close personal friends.
A spokesman for Mayor Ronald Dellums — who 10 days ago asked Attorney General Jerry Brown to conduct what he called a "concurrent parallel investigation" in addition to the police department's own internal affairs probe of Longmire's handling of the Bailey case — declined to comment Friday.
A source with deep ties to law enforcement said investigators are focused on "a little protection network" between the three.
The source said that network allowed Longmire to work Bailey's killing without being pressured by his bosses, Joyner and Loman, to expand the case from the only person charged, bakery dishwasher Devaugndre Broussard, to others who may have ordered or participated in the killing.
Broussard confessed to the killing, then recanted, claiming Bey IV ordered him to falsely confess to Longmire. His trial is scheduled for early 2009. Bey IV is jailed and awaiting charges in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case for which he faces life imprisonment.
The Alameda County district attorney's office has assigned two investigators to rework the Bailey killing independently.
The Chauncey Bailey Project reported last month that Longmire failed to properly document evidence of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV's role in Bailey's Aug. 2, 2007, shotgun killing.
Longmire also interfered in two other felony cases in which other detectives were investigating Bey IV, the project reported. In a written statement issued a week later police defended Longmire's work.
The Chauncey Bailey Project continues to stand behind the October stories, said Robert J. Rosenthal, executive editor for the project.
"Let the chips fall where they fall," City Council President Ignacio de la Fuente, who supported Dellums call for an outside investigation, said Friday. "It is imperative that we get a statement of the facts about what happened." The council president, who has harshly criticized police for a case in which his son was convicted of sexual assault, said he believes Longmire, Joyner and Loman should be suspended for the investigation's duration.
"That's the only way to make sure nothing is tampered with," he said.
Police documents show Longmire interfered in a 2005 investigation of Bey IV. Loman was also involved in that case.
Police documents show that in November 2005 Longmire made repeated incursions into a felony investigation of Bey IV and his followers for robbing and vandalizing two liquor stores. The detective in the case, Dominique Arotzarena, wrote several times in his case notes that he told Longmire to leave matters alone.
Arotzarena's case notes also state Loman told him not to arrest Bey IV if he was "forthcoming with information." Arotzarena wrote that after he obtained a warrant for Bey IV's arrest, Bey IV arrived without notice at police headquarters, met with Longmire and surrendered.
"I never asked Bey (IV) to come down to the police department during this investigation," Arotzarena wrote. "He came down to meet with Longmire."
The warrants were "not made public by this police department or me. Longmire organized this visit." It is unclear how Bey IV knew there was a warrant for his arrest. "I never spoke to Bey (IV) nor told him that he was under arrest," Arotzarena wrote.
Sources told the Chauncey Bailey Project informants told Arotzarena that a sawed-off shotgun stolen from one of the liquor stores was being stored at the bakery.
He asked for permission to get a warrant to search the bakery for the weapon but Loman denied that request, according to law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case.
No warrant to search the bakery and recover the gun was obtained. The shotgun was used 21 months later to kill Bailey.
Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group. Bob Butler and Mary Fricker are independent journalists. Reach them at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.