Friday, March 6, 2009

Oakland Cop: Ignorant or Arrogant?

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Oakland police Sergeant Derwin Longmire affirmed his friendship with Yusuf Bey IV, the likely mastermind in the assassination of journalist Chauncey Bailey, during two phone calls last year while Bey IV was behind bars. At the time, Longmire was the lead investigator in the Bailey murder case, while Bey IV was in jail on unrelated charges of kidnapping and torture. As is standard practice, the phone calls were taped by guards at Santa Rita Jail, where Bey IV was being housed. Longmire may have been ignorant of that fact, but as a veteran cop, he likely knew the conversations were being taped and believed his fellow cops -- and superiors -- wouldn't care.

The revelations about the phone calls came in an exclusive today in the San Francisco Chronicle by reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken, who has consistently been out front on the Bailey murder case and was the first to report Longmire and Bey IV's long relationship. The report also came on the heals of explosive stories yesterday by Van Derbeken and by Thomas Peele of the Chauncey Bailey Project, revealing that Bey IV had allegedly bragged that Longmire would protect him from murder charges because he had supplied the homicide detective with girls for sexual favors. The stories also reported that Bey IV allegedly bragged about ordering Bailey's assassination.

In today's story, Van Derbeken reports obtaining the actual recordings of the phone conversations between Longmire and Bey IV last year. The tapes revealed for the first time Longmire himself acknowledging his relationship with Bey IV. Previous news reports had focused on Bey IV bragging about his freindship with Longmire and saying that the Oakland cop had protected him from being charged with murder. If Longmire knew the calls were being taped, it was a brazen example of a rogue Oakland cop obviously not concerned about how it would look that he was talking about his friendship with the man who is believed to behind the murder of Bailey -- at a time when he was the lead investigator in the case.

It turns out that Longmire had little to worry about. That's because his superiors, including current acting Police Chief Howard Jordan, repeatedly defended Longmire in the press, saying he did nothing wrong even though he had an obvious conflict of interest in the Baliey murder case. It's highly unusual for a cop to be allowed to investigate a crime when he's friends with the prime suspect. Both Van Derbeken and Peele also have previously reported that Oakland police brass knew that Longmire had intervened on Bey IV's behalf in the torture and kidnapping case, yet still allowed him to direct the Bailey murder investigation.

At the time of Bailey's death, Bey IV was the CEO of Your Black Muslim Bakery. It has since closed after going bankrupt. Longmire wasn't transferred off the Bailey murder case until late last fall, after numerous stories from Peele and Van Derbeken showed how badly he had screwed up the case, prompting political pressure inside Oakland City Hall. Longmire, who was demoted to the patrol unit, is under investigation by the department's internal affairs division, the state Attorney General's Office, and the FBI.

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