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

Bey expressed this notion in a 1999 speech, "Contract with the Devil." The modern incarnation of this secret pact between white men and black women, Bey suggests, can be found in laws against domestic violence. "The black woman and the Caucasian man have got a system going, an unwritten condition going, that 'As long as he's alright with me, don't bother him,'" Bey said. "'But now if he upsets me, I'll just call 911, and you can come take over.' This is reality. You see, when police come to your home because of a family disturbance, they don't go to the man. He goes to the woman." Later in that same speech, Bey even went so far as to speak up for executing immoral women. "There's a culture and a country in the East somewhere, where if the girl fornicates, the brothers have to kill the daughter. Have to kill their sister. ... In these societies, you do not have teenage pregnancies. In these societies, you do not have children in foster homes. In these societies, you do not have an unmarried woman, an unwed woman. You don't have children growing up in a household without a mother and a father. So who's right, and who's wrong?"

Yusuf Bey may not be the only family member harboring dark thoughts against women. According to one court filing, Nedir Bey has allegedly put the Yusuf Bey school of spousal relations into practice. Just four months ago, Bey's estranged lover Kathy Leviege sought a temporary restraining order against him, charging that he had stalked her for months. On March 28, she claimed, Bey slashed all four tires on her car. And that was just the beginning. Since then, he has allegedly called Leviege's brother and threatened to hurt her and their two children, made numerous calls to her boss for no apparent reason, threatened to steal her children, and hounded her with phone calls and e-mails. On three separate occasions, Leviege claimed, Bey has shown up at her house and provoked confrontations so fierce that she had to call the police. "Mr. Bey is dangerous," she wrote in her request for a restraining order. "He has proven above and beyond that he intends to harm me any way possible, because of his anger toward me."

Bey denies the charges and says the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding. "Sometimes you can be offensive to a person without meaning to be," he says. "What one person would call offensive or harassment may not be so to another person. I would say that my understanding is that me and the young lady had some disagreements, and that we are on very good terms." Leviege has not returned several phone calls seeking comment.


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

While women may chafe under such iron-fisted patriarchy, Yusuf Bey's vision suggests that the children will turn out to be upstanding citizens possessed of a nobility and generosity of spirit. He promises his followers that his stern example will produce honorable men far removed from ghetto staples such as broken homes, absent fathers, or drug dealing. Bey presents himself as an exemplar of such values. But the sad case of his son Akbar calls his entire philosophy into question.

Akbar Bey shared with rap star Tupac Shakur a strange cocktail of political consciousness and alleged criminality. You could literally read it on his body, which was festooned with tattoos depicting crossed machine guns and the phrases "gangsta," "night stalker," "grim reaper," and "break yoself," according to police reports. Oakland police lieutenant Mike Yoell, who patrols the North Oakland beat, says Akbar Bey was "a little street thug" who once cruised past the downtown police station glaring at the cops, armed to the teeth, and clad in a bullet-proof vest.

Although Bey ran afoul of the law as a juvenile, his first adult confrontation with the police occurred on the afternoon of June 1, 1994. According to a police report, officers George Phillips and J. Smith were patrolling the West Oakland area near Market Street when they saw Bey's green Chevy Nova run a stoplight. Phillips pulled a U-turn and began to follow the car, but Bey floored it down the road. At 44th Street and Market, the car hit a grade and flew through the air. "The passengers were thrown violently into the passenger door, then pitched back toward the middle of the forward compartment," Phillips wrote. "Northbound and southbound traffic was forced to activate brakes to avoid collision."

The car sped on, fishtailing through another intersection and racing south. As Phillips gave chase, Bey pitched a silver 9mm handgun out of the window. Finally, Bey stopped and was taken into custody. Inside the car, police discovered that Bey's passenger, Donald Cook, was holding a two-year-old child on his lap during the chase. The gun, it turned out, had been stolen during a burglary a year earlier.

Akbar Bey was charged with felony counts of carrying a concealed weapon and evading the police, but he wouldn't live long enough to stand trial. Exactly three months later, he was hanging out with some friends outside the old Omni nightclub near the corner of Shattuck Avenue and 50th Street. Among the men in the crowd was Lavelle Stewart, a local drug dealer. Everyone was having a good time drinking and sampling Stewart's weed until the dealer got ready to leave. Then things turned ugly.

« Previous Page
Next Page »