Twelve years after the fatal shooting of journalist Chauncey Bailey, Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney said she plans to have a commemorative plaque installed in his honor in October.
Bailey, 57, who was an editor at the Oakland Post and previously was a reporter for the Oakland Tribune, was shot multiple times and killed near the corner of 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland about 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2007, as he was walking from his home near Lake Merritt to the Post’s office at 405 14th St.
Alameda County prosecutor Melissa Krum Dooher told jurors in the trial of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV in 2011 that Bey ordered the murders of Bailey and two other men in the summer of 2007 because of financial pressure, revenge and racial hatred.
Dooher said Bey ordered the killing of Bailey to prevent him from writing an article about the bakery’s financial problems.
The bakery was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings when Bailey was gunned down and closed its doors later that year.
Dooher said Bey was also upset at Bailey for writing articles about the child molestation charges that his father, bakery founder Yusuf Bey, was facing at the time of his death at age 67 in 2003.
Referring to Bailey, McElhaney said, “I remember his death like it was yesterday.”
McElhaney said she was familiar with Bailey through her work in a local church and various nonprofit organizations.
“I had just spoken with him what seemed like days before his death,” McElhaney said. “News of his slaying shook all of us to our core. He wrote to us about us and kept us focused on the things that mattered most.”
McElhaney said the plaque will be installed on Bailey’s birthday on Oct. 20 on a sidewalk on 14th Street in the area where he was killed.
“The loss of Chauncey was a loss for the entire African-American Community,” McElhaney said. “I look forward to the chance to honor his memory and example here, in the Black Arts Movement and Business District, where he died in service to our community.”
McElhaney said, “I’ve really ached to do this (install the plaque) for Chauncey’s family and to stand up for free speech at a time when there are attacks on the press.”
She said the money for installing the plaque will come from funds in the city of Oakland’s budget that are allocated for projects in the Black Arts Movement and Business District.
McElhaney said people who want to donate to the plaque installment effort can reach her at 510-238-7003 or email@example.com.
Bey was sentenced in 2011 to three consecutive terms of life in prison without parole for ordering the murders of Bailey, Odell Roberson Jr., 31, and Michael Wills, 36.
Bey’s associate Antoine Mackey was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for his involvement in the deaths of Bailey and Wills.
Bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard admitted during the trial of Bey and Mackey that he fatally shot Bailey and Roberson but said he did so at Bey’s direction.
Broussard pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 25 years in state prison.