Investigator in Oakland Journalist's Slaying Accused of Compromising Case
The lead police investigator into the 2007 murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey is facing disciplinary action for his alleged mishandling of the case.
Sgt. Derwin Longmire was placed on paid leave Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, for allegedly failing to disclose all of his contacts with Yusuf Bey IV, owner of the bakery at the center of the murder probe. Two of Longmire's former superiors, Lt. Ersie Joyner and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Loman, are also under scrutiny for their supervision of the case.
Police say Longmire failed to document at least two telephone conversations he had with the Your Black Muslim Bakery leader in 2008. During one of the phone calls (listen to them here), Longmire reportedly said that he would "defend his friendship" with Bey IV, who remains in jail on unrelated kidnapping charges. Bey IV has not been charged in Bailey's murder.
Longmire's lawyer, Michael Rains, told the Chronicle that the disputed phone conversations with Bey IV were not improper and that his client's case files actually documented Bey's suspected involvement. "Derwin Longmire was committed to what he needed to do as a homicide investigator to prosecute those responsible for the murder of Chauncey Bailey," Rains said.
According to the Chauncey Bailey Project, an independent investigation by Bay Area journalists, Longmire also failed to document evidence that put Bey IV in a car parked outside Bailey's apartment hours before the killing.
Bailey, the 57-year-old editor of the Oakland Post, was shot Aug. 2, 2007, on his way to work. The next day, police arrested 19-year-old bakery employee Devaughndre Broussard, who confessed to the shooting but later recanted. Broussard's trial is set to begin next month.
Longmire's relationship with Bey IV has raised questions throughout the investigation.
Last summer, the Chauncey Bailey Project obtained a police interrogation video in which Bey IV bragged about the murder and claimed protection by Longmire.
The video, recorded three days after Broussard's confession, shows Bey IV, his half-brother Joshua Bey and associate Tamon Halfin discussing the Bailey murder in hushed voices while being held at the San Leandro Police Department in the kidnapping case. At one point, Bey IV refers to Longmire:
The reason why they didn't pin the murder on me was because of Longmire... [The police] wanted to make it seem like since I was in charge, [Broussard] works for me, that I gotta point to him. Even though he said I didn't do it.
But Longmire said, "I'm not even going to have you involved with that because it will make the bakery look terrible.
I said, "Hell yea it would. That [expletive] did it."
Editor's note: Last week, Northwestern University named the Chauncey Bailey Project a finalist for the 2008 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism.
By Amanda Zamora |
April 15, 2009; 3:08 PM ET
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