The Kern County Sheriff’s Department has been accused of police brutality and possible tampering in connection to the fatal beating of David Sal Silva, a 33 year-old father of four. The incident took place on May 8th in East Bakersfield, across the street from Kern Medical Center, after deputies responded to a call of an “intoxicated man”. One of several witnesses claims he saw deputies repeatedly hitting Silva in the head with their batons while he was laying on the ground. The witness also says Silva was outnumbered and not fighting back. Another woman called 911 as she was watching what was happening. She also reported Silva laying on the ground as eight deputies “ran out and started hitting him”. She added that she believed he was dead. Two additional witnesses say they were detained by the Sheriff’s department for several hours until giving up their cell phones, in which they had recorded the alleged beating on. The Sheriff’s Department defended this action, saying they had obtained search warrants for the phones in order to preserve possible evidence. However, after the department claimed one of the two phones had nothing recorded, two witnesses who are said to have seen the recordings are accusing them of deleting the videos. The department has not yet commented on these claims. Silva was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital just before 1 am, less than an hour after the incident began. Another security camera captured grainy images of figures hitting someone or something on the ground, but it was difficult to see who was involved or what exactly happened.
As for their side of the story, the Sheriff’s Department said they believe Silva may have been intoxicated and resisting officers, forcing them to use their batons. In all, there were six deputies, two California Highway Patrol officers, and one K-9 dog on scene. The six deputies returned to work, but were then placed on administrative leave, partially because they began receiving threatening emails. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said Tuesday that he has asked the FBI to come in and do a parallel investigation. It could take up to four months for toxicology reports to come back and to determine a cause of death.
We expect the police to protect us in times of need. However, we also expect police to act responsibly and soundly in their decisions without taking advantage of the power they have. No one should be beaten so mercilessly by police officers that they die, no matter what has happened leading up to the encounter. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to police brutality and excessive force in Los Angeles or Orange County areas, contact a police brutality attorney at the Roberts Law Firm. We have helped victims of police brutality receive compensation for physical injuries, lost income, and suffering caused by the physical and emotional pain associated with police brutality.