The Killing of a Journalist

Voice staff writer Chris Thompson not only knew the Oakland reporter shot dead by a follower of the Yusuf Bey family, he'd also incurred the family's wrath

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."


Chris Thompson's Other Stories on the Yusuf Bey Family

How Official Oakland Kept the Bey Empire Going
The troublesome history of Oakland's most prominent Black Muslims ó and the political establishment that protects them.
Published: November 20, 2002

Blood & Money: Endgame
Even in his death, Yusuf Bey is lionized as an elder statesman rather than branded as a thug. Meanwhile, his victims reflect.
Published: October 8, 2003

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.

But why has it taken so long for all these allegations, the torture and rapes and beatings, to come before the public? Why has Bey commanded the respect and admiration of so many people -- and why were so many civic leaders eager to call him friend? Countless Oakland leaders have offered the Bey family their services. It's time for them to answer for it.

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