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Investigating the assassination of Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, Part 2

October 24, 2007

A Q&A with Publisher Paul Cobb and Attorney Walter Riley

by Minister of Information JR

Oakland Post Publisher Paul Cobb was at the scene at 14th and Alice on the morning of Aug. 2 shortly after the murder of Post Editor Chauncey Bailey. – Photo: AP
This the second part in a short series brought to you by the BlockReportRadio.com, sfbayview.com, the Oakland Post and the Black Bailey Project to give you the raw information regarding the investigation into who killed Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, the investigation into the Black Muslim Bakery and the whole controversy surrounding the Oakland Police Department’s involvement in a cover-up.

Check out Oakland Post Publisher Paul Cobb and Post attorney Walter Riley as they speak on the Block Report Radio show in this exclusive Q&A about these topics. Also check out a short interview with them on youtube.com done by Kevin Weston of New America Media.

MOI JR: Did the conclusions that the Oakland Post came up with reflect the same conclusions that the police have been putting into the mainstream media?

Paul: I don’t know all of the conclusions. They concluded early on – they meaning members of the police department – concluded three hours after Chauncey Bailey was killed. In my office, Officer Longmire told us – and Walter Riley was present along with my wife and Gene Hazzard; the four of us were being interviewed by him – he had asked us had Chauncey Bailey been working on anything controversial or that might be remotely connected to a reason why someone would want to kill him, to the best of our knowledge.

At that point I told the officer that I thought that the most prominent story that Chauncey Bailey was working on I thought that could cause some concern was that he was working on an investigation into allegations of some shady behavior by some of the police officers. And the officer did not write that down, did not seem interested.

He then asked, “Do you know of any domestic disputes or involvements with liaisons or girlfriends etc.?” I responded by telling him I knew he had had a girlfriend but I didn’t think that that would be a reason. And then I gave a description of someone who had threatened him, Chauncey, the week before. And the officer immediately ruled that out, and told us that he didn’t think that that person would’ve been likely because he didn’t fit the description.

I told the officer that I thought that the most prominent story that Chauncey Bailey was working on I thought that could cause some concern was that he was working on an investigation into allegations of some shady behavior by some of the police officers. And the officer did not write that down, did not seem interested.

And then I had mentioned that he had worked on a story that never got published, about the Black Muslim Bakery. That was the only thing that he seemed interested in enough to jot down a note or two. At one point he said, “Look, we know that Chauncey Bailey was stalked and targeted.” And he made mention of the Black Muslim Bakery.

Now that conclusion at three hours after Chauncey Bailey was killed stuck with all of us, because of those words, “stalked and targeted,” because it seems to me that those are conclusionary assumptions; that you would have to know something to use the word “stalked” and to use the word “targeted.”

I guess you could argue, if you want to go by the strict definition, that any and everybody who was ever shot had to be targeted, even though it may have been made on a five-second notice. You had to have a target unless it was an accidental shooting. But it was an implication that this was an intentional either gangland type or murder-for-hire type hit. That was my understanding of his use of the word targeted.

I’m still struck by that. It’s like the prevailing Watergate question. When did they know that and how could they have known that with such definiteness only three hours after the killing, without having conducted the raid, without having caught the assailant, without having the person in custody? How could you determine that, and I’m still searching for that answer.

So to answer your question, some of us at the Post have not concluded that. We agree that you couldn’t determine that based on three hours after Chauncey was killed, unless you had either prior notice or unless they had wiretap or surveillance information or unless there was someone who was either a plant inside or an infiltrator or somehow they had ascertained prior knowledge.

And I guess that opens the door up to even larger questions. And if they ascertained it by any of those means, then why wasn’t Chauncey Bailey told that he was targeted or stalked?

MOI JR: Attorney Riley, how has the murder of Chauncey Bailey affected your client, Paul Cobb, publisher of the Oakland Post Newspaper, as well as the paper itself?

Attorney Riley: Well, I’m going to leave some of that to Paul to talk about how it has affected the Post newspaper, but it certainly has had an impact on both. When I first saw Paul on that day, as he was with all of the other people at the Post Newspaper at the office, they were tremendously traumatized. Paul was the leader of the group of the folks there. He was the senior newsman. He is the publisher.

So he was the focus of much of the attention, and certainly people were looking to him. He was also the person that was working closely with Chauncey on running the paper. Paul was emotionally traumatized. Paul was not in the best shape. He was off and on crying. And he was at the same time trying to offer leadership to the Post when I saw him there, and to the people.

He was being interviewed by people from various media, one after the other. There was a line of people coming through the door to the Post office and coming to the back room where we were to talk to Paul. And I remember one time it was very impressive to me that as I sat there and watched Paul being interviewed by a reporter from the New York Times, and the man was pursuing significant questions to Paul, Paul was at the same time as he talked to this guy, he was talking to people at the Post.

He was running the newspaper from that moment. He was putting together what was coming out the next day. The paper was already put to bed. This was Thursday. I guess the paper is done on a Wednesday and was at the printer. And on that Thursday morning, I suppose had Chauncey not been shot, the paper would’ve come out sometime that day and they would’ve started distributing it, but Paul had to stop the presses and make changes in the paper and to add the story of Chauncey’s death at the same time that he was doing interviews.

And it was impressive to me and also emotional for me to watch him suffering, obviously suffering, talking to people and putting together that paper. I was really impressed with what was done at that moment: The press was stopped, the paper came out, and they organized the distribution of that paper, an important story.

At the same time, he gave the important information to all of the people that came through. Radio, television and print media came through the office that day. That’s Paul, that’s the Post, and the work that they were doing. And that is the constant reminder to everybody that doing this kind of work is something that people feel passionate about and they know that it has to be done, giving information to the public.

Email POCC Minister of Information JR at blockreportradio@gmail.com and visit www.blockreportradio.com.

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