The San Francisco Chronicle reported today that Sgt. Derwin Longmire, the Oakland police sergeant who led the investigation into the 2007 slaying of journalist Chauncey Bailey, “has been cleared of internal charges that he compromised the probe to keep the leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery from being implicated.”
Longmire has been on paid leave for six months as an internal investigation looked into the state attorney general’s conclusion that he had mishandled the probe of the Aug. 2, 2007, Bailey slaying. State investigators had found “Longmire’s inquiry was ‘inexcusably lacking’ for allegedly failing to look into bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV’s possible role in the killing,” the Chronicle reports.
Oakland police officials apparently disagreed, and Police Chief Howard Jordan has ordered that he return to duty. Upon returning, he will serve a five-day suspension for minor problems with other homicide cases, the Chronicle reports.
Longmire’s attorney Michael Rains told the Chronicle that Longmire “always believed that Bey had orchestrated Bailey’s killing … and did nothing to keep him from being charged. Any problems in the case were, at worst, caused by Longmire being ‘sloppy and inattentive to detail.’”
Reporters at The Chauncey Bailey Project have reported extensively on the ties between Sergeant Longmire and the Bey family, some of whom were suspects in the murder case. An investigation by Thomas Peele, Bob Butler, and Mary Fricker last October found Longmire ignored evidence of Yusuf Bey IV’s possible involvement in the Bailey slaying, and that he interfered on behalf of Bey IV in two other felony cases. See the CIR timeline of Longmire’s ties to the Bey family and the mounting evidence connecting Bey IV to the Bailey murder here:
According to the Chronicle article:
Longmire and Bey IV had known each other for two years before the Bailey killing. Several police investigators interviewed as part of the state probe cited that friendship in faulting the decision to put Longmire on the case.
In a memo to [Police Chief Howard] Jordan, acting Capt. Sean Whent, head of the police internal affairs unit, said the state findings showed Longmire “deliberately did an inadequate investigation … most likely due to a relationship” with Bey.
Even Jordan told state investigators in February that given Longmire’s friendship with the bakery leader, “I don’t see how you can form the conclusion that it’s not affecting his ability to investigate the case thoroughly.”