The Sinister Side of Yusuf Bey's Empire 

The troublesome history of Oakland's most prominent Black Muslims -- and the political establishment that protects them.

Page 9 of 10

According to witness statements, one of the men grabbed Tucker in a choke hold, and the rest started beating him. They punched and kicked him till he fell to the floor, then stomped on his prone body. "Basheer then swung and hit Allen in the face," nearby tenant Charles Caldwell said in a police statement. "Allen was covering himself, and the others grabbed him and began hitting and kicking him. They then rammed him into the wall. They then pushed him into his house and began beating him inside the house. Allen began bleeding from the face and was out. They picked him up and continued hitting him in the face. Basheer then said, 'That's enough, all.'"

According to Tucker's cousin Yussabbih Tucker, all four men continued stomping on Tucker even after he passed out, and blood was trickling from his mouth. Yussabbih Tucker ran back to her apartment and called 911, then raced back to the parking lot to keep the men from leaving. Just as they were turning on her, the police arrived.

Tucker was left with swelling bruises around both temples, a gash in his lip, and a three-inch laceration on his leg. All four men were arrested, but the charges were ultimately dismissed.

"My apologies are to God Allah. If he can forgive me, I'm going back to work for my community."

-- Yusuf Bey at Castlemont High, September 21, 2002

You might say the Bey family has been busy during the last nine years. But you wouldn't know it from the coverage they've received in the local press, including this newspaper. Virtually none of these arrests, confrontations, and allegations received the scrutiny they deserved, and Yusuf Bey and his followers have been able to continue presenting themselves as role models for impoverished, fatherless children. In some quarters of the city, they've accumulated a populist moral currency that politicians and social workers could never hope to equal. They are, in a word, righteous.

June may have marked the beginning of Yusuf Bey's downfall. A woman out of Bey's distant past contacted the Oakland police and claimed that he impregnated her in 1982, when she was just thirteen years old. After a brief investigation, the OPD Special Victims Unit served Bey with a search warrant for a tissue sample, which he provided. He refused to speak to the police about the investigation, but officer Jim Saleda claims DNA tests confirm that Bey is the father. Bey turned himself in on September 19 after police issued a warrant for his arrest.

One month ago, the woman filed a request for a temporary restraining order keeping Bey, whom she refers to as the "Respondent," far away from her and her family. In this request, she told her story in chilling detail.

"I first met with Respondent when I was eight years old," the woman wrote. "When I was ten years old, I went to live with Respondent as a foster child in his home with his wife, Nora Bey. Respondent started sexually assaulting me at about that time. He threatened to kill me if I told anybody. He also beat me with his hands and other objects. When I was thirteen years old, I gave birth to a child fathered by Respondent. The violence and threats of physical harm continued, as did the repeated rapes. I did not tell anyone for fear of my life and the life of my child. I had no family other than Respondent's wife, who was aware of the rapes but did nothing. ...

"I had absolutely no money or means of support, because Respondent forced me to lie about the father of the children to get on welfare. He then took those checks for his own personal use. I managed to escape from Respondent after he beat me during my third pregnancy. At that time, I was not permitted to take any of my personal property with me. After I left, Respondent threatened to have me floating in a river if I ever divulged any of these crimes."

For nearly two decades, the woman claims, she kept silent. Then one day, Bey started trying to get their daughter to "take a ride with him." Fearing for her child, she went to the police. After the DNA test was conducted, the woman claims, Bey contacted her and threatened to kill her unless she put a stop to the investigation. "This threat has made me and my children fear for our lives," she wrote. "I have left my place of residence and have kept my whereabouts concealed from Respondent and his supporters. I have witnessed several people physically harmed by Respondent. ... Thus, I take Respondent's threats very seriously."

Bey refused to answer questions about this or any other issue in this story. But the scandal has broken the levee of silence that surrounds the Bey family, and the floodwaters are rising. Bey's next court date is November 14, and he will soon face trial on a felony count of lewd conduct with a girl less than fourteen years old.


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