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Your Black Muslim Bakery

Your Black Muslim Bakery was a bakery opened by Yusuf Bey in 1968 in Santa Barbara, California, and relocated to Oakland in 1971. A power broker at the center of a local community, it was held out as a model of African American economic self-sufficiency. However, it was later linked to widespread physical and sexual abuse, intimidation, welfare fraud, and murder. After Bey's death in 2003, the bakery fell into debt and declared bankruptcy in October 2006. In August 2007, in connection with investigations into the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and a number of other crimes, police conducted a massive raid on the company's San Pablo Avenue bakery. A concurrent health inspection resulted in its closure. Later that day a court ordered the pending reorganization converted into a liquidation bankruptcy.

Origins

Yusuf Bey came to Oakland from Texas with his family as a student in the early 1950s. He later opened cosmetology beauty salons in the area and in southern California, before going into the bakery business. After discovering the teachings of Elijah Muhammed in the 1960s, Bey converted to Islam in 1964, and founded the Islamic bakery in Santa Barbara in 1968. The group was not affiliated with Louis Farrakhan's movement, the Nation of Islam, though similarities were evident. Nation of Islam minister Keith Muhammad, of East Oakland's Muhammad Mosque #26, stated that the two organizations are distinct and separate.

The baked goods Bey sold were prepared in accordance with the Qur'an, and were free of refined sugar and preservatives. Some items sold were not in accordance with Elijah Muhammad's dietary books: How to Eat to Live, books one and two, as some items contained coconut, which, like other nuts, is considered unfit for human consumption by Elijah Muhammad. Bey named the business Your Black Muslim Bakery on the personal recommendation of his spiritual guide, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. In 1971, Bey moved the bakery to Oakland. By 1974 it was the "largest Bay Area bakery specializing exclusively in natural food products", with over 6,000 loaves of bread and over 300 cakes per week sold at 150 stores.

By the mid 1980s Bey appeared regularly on a local Oakland Soul Beat cable television lecture program, True Solutions, during which Bey broadcast his hour-long sermons every week. On the program Bey also promoted the bakery, and frequently expounded on the need for the economic self-reliance and "knowledge of self" of African-Americans, whom he lectured the audience as being the "Original Man", a racially-charged idea taking off on the "Out-of-Africa" scientific theory of the Mitochondrial Eve, which was newly popularized at the time. However, Bey's idea differed markedly from the scientific theory.

During the 1990s the bakery and its leaders were a respected part of Oakland society, and had substantial influence in local politics. They used their power to obtain favors from the city, influence local elections, and avoid scrutiny from police.

By 2007 the company was headquartered at 5832 San Pablo Avenue, with five branch locations listed in Alameda County records, including a store on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland's Temescal district, and another at Oakland International Airport. The bakery also had a location at the Oakland Coliseum.

Yusuf Bey era controversies

Akbar Bey

In 1994, Bey's son Akbar Bey was shot four times and killed by a local drug dealer associate outside the old Omni nightclub near the corner of Shattuck Avenue and 50th Street. Court records showed the pathologist's conclusion that Akbar Bey was high on heroin or morphine at the time of his death. An Oakland police lieutenant described Akbar Bey as "a little street thug" once seen well-armed and wearing a bullet-proof vest in a blatant show of force to the police. Three months before his killing, Akbar Bey had been charged with felony counts of carrying a concealed weapon and evading the police, resulting in a car chase and crash at 44th Street and Market Street.

1994 Nedir and Abaz Bey trial

On March 4, 1994, Nedir Bey was involved in the torture and beating of a Nigerian home-seller in an apartment on the 500 block of 24th Street in Oakland, involving a real estate deal. The apartment complex served as a compound for the organization. The extremely violent incident also involved Abaz Bey. Abaz and Nedir Bey were both standing members of the African-American Advisory Committee on Crime, which also included then Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris. The committee had organized a massive conference on crime that same weekend, featuring Jesse Jackson as its keynote speaker.

By the end of the incident, ninety Oakland Police officers were engaged in hand to hand combat with thirty Black Muslims, some of whom had guns. The two Beys and two other men were charged with felony counts of assault, robbery, and false imprisonment. A year later, all four men pleaded no contest to one felony count of false imprisonment. The prosecutors had cut a plea deal, in part because they could not get any tenant witnesses to talk from the apartment complex where the Bey organization stationed its members as security, like a private compound. Nedir Bey served six months of home detention, and Abaz Bey got eight months home detention.

1994 Bey mayoral run

Primarily through the lobbying and orchestrating done by Nedir Bey, who was the public face of the Bey organization, Yusuf Bey cultivated the patronage of Oakland's civic, political, and religious leaders. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1994, gaining 5% of the vote.

1996 City loan

In 1996 the City of Oakland loaned the company $1.1 million to start a home health care business. The loan was never repaid, and the home health care business never was established.

Yusuf Bey rape trial

Bey's detractors — notably East Bay Express journalist Chris Thompson — accused him of cultism, corruption, and antisemitism. Many accusations of physical and sexual abuse, including rape and incest, and which were sustained by DNA evidence, were made against Bey, culminating in felony charges which were pending at the time of his death.

On September 19, 2002, Bey turned himself in to Oakland Police when a warrant was issued for his arrest, charged with 27 counts in the alleged rapes of four girls under the age of 14. The cases were pending trial into the following year. The oldest allegation was that beginning twenty years earlier he serially raped through coercion a preteen girl who, as a ten-year-old, came under foster care of Bey and his wife Nora Bey. Bey died of cancer in October 2003 at age 67 while the first case was awaiting trial.

Second generation controversies

Waajid Bey

Following the death of Yusuf Bey in 2003, Waajid Aliawaad Bey became CEO of Your Black Muslim Bakery. In March 2004, at age 51, he disappeared for several months, until he turned up as a murder victim with the discovery of his badly decomposed body in a shallow grave off Skyline Blvd. in the Oakland Hills.

Antar Bey

The bakery business was then taken over by Yusuf Bey's son, Antar Bey. At age 23 on October 25, 2005, Antar Bey was in turn shot to death in what police believe to be a failed carjacking while he was stopped to get gas on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, near 55th Street. On December 14, 2007, Alfonza Phillips III was sentenced to life imprisonment for his murder.

Another son, Yusuf Bey IV, then took over the bakery business in October 2005.

Yusuf Bey IV

In November 2005, two liquor stores in Oakland were vandalized, one of which was captured on a store surveillance tape. Another store was burned, and a store owner was briefly abducted by men wearing the distinctive bow-tie apparel associated with the Nation of Islam. The men had demanded that the stores stop selling alcohol to African Americans. The new bakery CEO, Yusuf Bey IV, was among those arrested in the case, and he was charged with having led the attacks.

In February 2006 in nearby Vallejo, California Yusuf Bey IV was arrested and later found guilty of a number of crimes related to his scheme to buy a $55,000 luxury Mercedes from a Vallejo used-car lot, by using false credit information and identification. He was also charged with trying to open a bank account with the false information. Vallejo Police had dropped charges about an illegal 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and ammunition, which had been found in the car.

In April 2006 Yusuf Bey IV was arrested in San Francisco on assault charges after allegedly trying to run down three security guards outside a strip club in his BMW, after he had been thrown out of the club. Then he was charged with missing several court dates, for which he became wanted on a $375,000 warrant.

According to later court documents, Yusuf Bey IV also used a stolen identification with a fake driver's license to fraudulently obtain favorable credit to buy a house in the 2500 block of 61st Avenue. Bey signed all the documents with the name Yasir Human. The US$550,000 loan was through CIT Group/Consumer Finance Inc.

2006 bankruptcy

On October 24, 2006 Your Black Muslim Bakery, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing its CEO as Yusuf Ali Bey, otherwise known as Yusuf Bey IV. With $900,000 in debts, owed mostly to the mortgage holder, the building was about to be foreclosed upon. The remaining debt, $200,000, was owed to the Internal Revenue Service. The day after the murder of Chauncey Bailey, on August 3, 2007 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Edward Jellen ordered the case to be converted to Chapter 7 liquidation effective August 9, 2007.

Political fallout

It was revealed that three local prominent elected officials wrote letters in July 2007 to Judge Jellen asking him not to dissolve the business to pay off creditors. U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, and California Assemblyman Sandre Swanson all wrote letters at the request of longtime bakery associate, Ali Saleem Bey. Lee later expressed regret for her support. Dellums' office offered the explanation that Ali Saleem Bey said that he hoped to gain control of the bakery, and return it to its historical roots. Swanson's letter was dated July 17, 2007 and Swanson's office first admitted to having "made a mistake", and also stated that Swanson was not aware of the bakery leaders' legal problems. But later his office stated that the letter was a routine response to a routine request such as they receive from small businesses, and that the earlier statement did not represent the official position of the assemblyman.

But Elmhurst-East Oakland City Council member Larry Reid said that he had refused the request by Bey to write a similar letter of support for the bakery in July, because the bakery had failed to repay the 1996 loan, and because of the well-publicized criminal charges that had been brought against bakery leaders by that time, including the 2005 liquor store incidents. Reid said he respects the old guard of the bakery represented by John Bey and Ali Saleem Bey, but that was not enough.

2006 Health Code violations

On December 19, 2006, the San Pablo Avenue bakery headquarters received four "major" health code violations, with dangerously unsanitary conditions, during a restaurant inspection by the Alameda County Environmental Health Department. The conditions were grave enough to risk immediate closure, if not fixed immediately, according to department policy. However, the bakery remained open, and no followup inspection was recorded by the department. The major violations included issues with grease, lack of smooth and cleanable surfaces, lack of adequate stove hood venting, and inadequate lighting. In addition inspectors cited four minor violations involving employee behavior and cleanliness.

May 2007 kidnapping

Oakland Police say that three men associated with the bakery, including Yusuf Bey IV, later admitted that on May 17, 2007 they kidnapped two women, a mother and daughter, and tortured the daughter. According to court records and a police affidavit, 20-year-old Joshua Bey and 21-year-old Tamon Oshun Halfin staked out the women at a bingo parlor at Foothill Square in East Oakland. Halfin and Joshua Bey admitted that Yusuf Bey IV ordered them to keep watch, and to notify him when the two women left. The men believed that both the women and a male friend had a lot of cash, which the Beys and Halfin were trying to get for the bakery.

Joshua Bey and Halfin, were riding in a fake police car, with flashing lights, which was registered to Yusuf Bey IV. The car pulled the women over on Interstate 580. Wearing dark clothing and masks, the two men took the women at gunpoint into the fake police car. A third man was behind the wheel. The men covered the women's heads, and drove off, while the third man followed them, driving the women's car. They ended up at a house in the 6800 block of Avenal Avenue, a couple miles from the bingo parlor. Police said that the bakery owned the house as a rental. The mother was left inside the car, and the daughter was taken inside the house, where she was tortured, hit in the head and knee with a hard object, and subjected to other graphic threats including being set on fire. An Oakland Police officer was in the area that night, looking for a stolen car. He spotted the fake police car instead, with the mother inside, and when he stopped to investigate, the men fled the house. The daughter broke a window of the house and called for help, and the mother was then found by police unharmed. A cell phone found in the house belonged to Joshua Bey.

Joshua Bey and Halfin were later among those arrested in the raid on the bakery. Police later held Yusuf Bey IV without bail as well, for kidnapping for ransom in the case.

July 2007 double homicide

The later bakery investigation and arrests may also relate to a double homicide that occurred near the bakery a couple months after the May kidnappings. On July 8, 2007 one victim was killed in the 1000 block of 60th Street, and then on July 12, 2007 the other victim, Mike Wills Jr., was gunned down in the 6200 block of San Pablo Avenue. On August 6, 2007 the police, without filing charges, said that the two murders were committed with an AK-47 found at the bakery during the August raid.

July 2007 kidnapping

Another case linked to arrestees in the later bakery raid involved yet another kidnapping on July 19, 2007 of some women for ransom, before they escaped their captors.

Chauncey Bailey investigation

Before his shooting death in August 2007, journalist Chauncey Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post, was working on a story about the finances of Your Black Muslim Bakery, involving its pending bankruptcy.

On August 6, 2007 a former employee of the bakery, Ali Saleem Bey, who is not a relative but who adopted the Bey name, revealed that he was Bailey's source for the story, which the Post withheld, having decided that it was not yet ready for publication. Bailey had asked Bey to give him the story since at least the prior two years.

According to Ali Bey, the bakery business had been seized from its rightful heirs in a coup through fraud and forgery, by a ruthless, younger branch of the family, beginning with Antar Bey and culminating with the current chief executive officer, Yusef Bey IV. Ali revealed that in June 2005, John Bey, the former head of the Bey security service, was driven out of town with his family after an attempt on his life in a shooting outside his home. John had tried to expose the fraud behind the coup. In 2005, Antar Bey mortgaged the bakery property, to cover back taxes and other debt, and then defaulted, which led to threat of foreclosure.

An attorney for the Post also confirmed that Bailey had been working on the story about the "financial status of the organization" and including the possibly criminal "activities of a number of people who were working in the organization".

Devaughndre Broussard

On the morning of August 2, 2007, Bailey set out on his usual walk to work in Downtown Oakland. Unknown to him, Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at Your Black Muslim Bakery who was on probation for a San Francisco robbery conviction, had found out where Bailey lived. Broussard had worked at the bakery as a handyman and cook between August 2006 and March 2007, before leaving to find other work. He was rehired at the bakery around early July 2007.

Broussard had grown up in the Western Addition of San Francisco. When he was 15, Broussard participated in Young Entrepreneurs at Haas, a mentorship program at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business geared for disadvantaged Bay Area youth. He was among three 10th-grade students who presented their top investment choices in a competition in which they began with a fictional $1 million to invest and worked with a mentor to learn how to analyze target companies. Broussard won a $100 savings bond.

The office of the San Francisco District Attorney revealed that in January 2006, at age 18, Broussard pled guilty to an assault charge, and served a first-time offender sentence of one year in San Francisco county jail. Upon release, Broussard was also ordered to three years of supervised probation.

In addition to his probation status, Broussard was wanted on an outstanding failure-to-appear warrant for his arrest, charged with a 2006 assault with a firearm in San Francisco.

August 2007 Bailey killing

Police revealed that on the night of August 1, 2007, Broussard first went looking for Bailey at his apartment complex near the south end of Lake Merritt; he had discovered Bailey's home address. Early on the next morning of August 2, 2007 Broussard looked for Bailey at his office, but Bailey had not yet arrived. Police revealed that Broussard also went looking for Bailey twice again at his apartment complex that morning. At 7:17 a.m. an AC Transit bus driver may have seen Broussard near Bailey's apartment, standing outside with the shotgun at First Avenue and International Boulevard. The driver called his dispatcher, who reported the incident to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. The driver continued on his route, and deputies responded to the location, but could not locate the man in their search.

Broussard then, in a white Ford Aerostar van, began driving around the route he thought Bailey would be taking to work. Broussard insisted that he acted alone, but police believe he had an accomplice in the van. At 7:25 a.m. Broussard spotted Bailey leaving the McDonald's restaurant where Bailey regularly stopped to eat breakfast. Broussard then got out of the van, parked on Alice Street. Wearing a mask and dark clothing, he approached Bailey with the shotgun. Police cannot confirm that a witness claims that he heard Bailey say "Please don't kill me." The anonymous witness claims he recognized Bailey, and that he was in trouble, but stopped in his tracks when he saw the shotgun.

Broussard admitted to police the next night that he then ambushed and killed Bailey. Oakland Police investigators said that Broussard confessed that he killed Bailey because he was angry over the past and ongoing articles written by Bailey about the bakery and its personnel. Police say the gunman first fired a shotgun blast at Bailey's chest, then stood over him and fired again execution style at Bailey's face while Bailey was down, and then fired a coup de grâce to make sure he was dead. Broussard then escaped in the van.

On the day of the Bailey murder Oakland Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland offered up to $25,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

August 2007 raid

The following day (August 3, 2007), Yusuf Bey IV and six others were arrested on probable cause warrants, including Broussard in connection with the alleged murder of Chauncey Bailey, and brother Joshua Bey along with Tamon Halfin for the May kidnapping. Yusuf Bey IV was also implicated in the May case.

Beginning at 5 a.m. that morning, more than 200 Oakland police officers, Alameda County sheriff's deputies, and SWAT team members armed with search warrants closed off a number of blocks of San Pablo Avenue, a major thoroughfare in North Oakland. The area of focus included homes and the business properties of the Bakery, which operated two business locations on either side of the San Pablo Ave. between Stanford Avenue and 59th Street. Police used stun grenades and broke down doors to gain entry. In a news conference later that day, Oakland Deputy Police Chief Howard Jordan said that several weapons and other evidence of value linked the murder of Chauncey Bailey to members of the group. Police also recovered spent ammunition from the rooftops, and detained 19 people for questioning.

In addition to the bakeries, the police also raided nearby homes. In the 1000 block of 59th Street, police recovered, from a closet, the shotgun used in the murder of Bailey at the home where Broussard was also detained. The rear yard of the home connected directly to the bakery property. Police also raided homes in the 900 block of Aileen Street a few blocks east of the bakery.

Of the 19 detainees on that morning, along with Broussard, Yusuf Bey IV, Joshua Bey and Tamon Halfin, three others were arrested on probable cause arrest warrants stemming from the prior investigations into violent crimes from the preceding two-year period. Days later, police were still seeking two additional suspects. Journalists believed two of the investigation cases to involve the predawn double homicide shooting of the two men in July 2007 blocks from the bakery, which police later said could be connected to the bakery.

The Alameda County Health Department closed the bakery, after rat droppings were found inside, and dead rats found on the rooftop, among other filth and waste which was leaking into drainage lines. As a result, police officers called in Oakland's Vector Control during the raid, along with the state of California Department of Fish and Game and the Alameda Country District Attorney's Office environmental crimes unit. Pending fines could reach up to $5,000 per day.

Coincidentally on the night of August 3, 2007 a tax accountant for the bakery was the victim of a shot being fired at his West Oakland home, but he believed that it had nothing to do with the other incidents.

Aftermath of raid

On August 4, 2007, Broussard was booked on suspicion of murder for the killing of Bailey, having told police detectives that he considered himself "a good soldier." Yusuf Bey IV was also booked that day, on the outstanding San Francisco warrant, and held without bail in the May kidnapping-for-ransom case. His brother Joshua Bey, Tamon Halfin and one of the other arrestees from the morning prior were being held in connection with the earlier kidnappings, including the assault of the one woman in May.

On August 7, 2007, Broussard was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court, charged with the murder of Bailey, and also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and with having a prior felony conviction from San Francisco. He continues to be held without bail, and is scheduled to enter a plea on August 13, 2007.

A couple of hours later that day, Yusuf Bey IV was arraigned in the same court and charged with the May kidnapping, carjacking, and torture, among other numerous violent crimes. Yusuf Bey IV was held in Oakland in lieu of US$130,000 bail, charged on 12 counts also including real estate fraud, forgery, grand theft, filing false documents, obtaining money under false pretenses, possession of a forged driver's license and identity theft. On August 15, 2007 he was assigned a court-appointed lawyer in the Alameda County Superior Court, and was scheduled to enter his plea on August 16, 2007. On August 17, 2007 Bey IV is scheduled to begin trial in the San Francisco strip club assault case.

Tamon Halfin and Joshua Bey were also arraigned on August 7, 2007 and charged with the May kidnapping, carjacking and torture. Halfin requested a public defender, and returned to court to plea on the next day, August 8, 2007. Joshua Bey pled not guilty on his appearance August 7, 2007.

Police continue to search for Broussard's white Ford Aerostar van, although they say they have an idea where it is located. In addition to the earlier two missing suspects still at large, police now are seeking a third unnamed suspect affiliated with the bakery as well, in relation to the overall investigations.

In June 2008, the Chauncey Bailey Project released a secretly recorded police video that reveals how Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV kept the gun used in the Chauncey Bailey killing in his closet after the attack and bragged of playing "hella dumb" when investigators asked him about the shooting. Bey goes on to describe Bailey's shooting in detail, then laughingly denies he was there, and boasts that his friendship with the case's lead detective protected him from charges.

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