Kern County deputies involved in fatal beating are back at work

LA Times – by Richard Winton

Six Kern County sheriff’s deputies and a sergeant, who last week were involved in a violent confrontation with a man who was struck numerous times with batons before he died, have returned to their regular jobs, officials said Tuesday.

David Sal Silva, 33, a father of four, was pronounced dead  Wednesday less than an hour after eyewitnesses reported seeing several deputies repeatedly strike the man in the head with batons as he lay on the pavement.  

Deputies had responded to a report of an intoxicated man. In addition to the deputies and sergeant, two California Highway Patrol officers were involved in the incident.

Raymond Pruitt, a Kern County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said the deputies and the sergeant present during the fatal incident last week “have been released to full duty.”

The department has identified those involved as deputies Ryan Greer, Tanner Miller, Jeffrey Kelly, Luis Almanza, Brian Brock, David Stephens and Sgt. Douglas Sword.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood said a cause of death for Silva rests on toxicological tests, which could take from 90 to 120 days to be completed.

Youngblood cautioned in an interview Monday that it is too early in the investigation to reach any conclusions about Silva’s death.

In an unusual move, sheriff’s officials later detained for several hours two witnesses who had videotaped the incident on their phones. They were released only after they surrendered their phones to deputies.

Witnesses to the incident have described a violent scene, in which sheriff’s deputies repeatedly struck Silva in the head with batons.

“I saw two sheriff’s deputies on top of this guy, just beating him,” eyewitness Ruben Ceballos said in an interview Monday. “He was screaming in pain … asking for help. He was incapable of fighting back — he was outnumbered, on the ground. They just beat him up.”

One woman frantically called 911, telling the operator: “The guy was laying on the floor and eight sheriffs ran up and started beating him up with sticks. The man is dead laying right here, right now. I got it all on video camera and I’m sending it to the news. These cops have no reason to do this to this man.”

The decision to take the witnesses’ cellphones has raised further questions about the Kern County sheriff’s handling of the incident.

“It makes it look like a cover-up,” said David Cohn, a lawyer for Silva’s children and parents, adding that he has not been able to see the footage. “What we’re all concerned about is, ‘Are these videos going to be altered? Are they going to be deleted?’ ”

Youngblood defended the decision to take custody of the phones as a way of preserving possible evidence. The sheriff said his office obtained a search warrant for the phones.

“We still have to secure the evidence, especially when the evidence can tell us whether we did it right or wrong,” Youngblood said.

He said his agency, to remove the appearance of any conflict, has asked the Bakersfield Police Department to analyze the phone videos.

KERO-TV Channel 23 in Bakersfield broadcast a security camera video from the scene showing grainy images of figures pummeling someone on the ground, with about 20 swings of what appear to be batons or sticks. It’s difficult to see Silva in the seven-minute video or how many of those swings connected.

Silva stopped breathing and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:44 a.m. Wednesday, the sheriff’s office  said.,0,7255028.story

18 thoughts on “Kern County deputies involved in fatal beating are back at work

  1. “We still have to secure the evidence, especially when the evidence can tell us whether we did it right or wrong,”

    Eight gestapo thugs murdered an unarmed man. They can tranquilize 500lb bears or other creatures, yet they enjoy killing their own species. The time is coming when these murderers are going to be facing millions of people who have had enough of their slaughtering.

    1. This must have happened in a large/big town because around here if a cop or a bunch of cops did that we all would know where them pigs lived and we all would be after them and they would either relocate or they would not be cops anymore and by not be cops anymore means use your imagination why they would not be cops anymore. each one of them cops should be haveing their names , pictures, where they live, and if they got family members, and post that info in bars, grocery stores, on the internet, in parks, on telephone poles, etc. wherever they can use the imagination to put what these pigs did. People know who those cops are so they should do something about it – call it small town justice, it works every time when the courts do not work.

        1. I`m not ole Bucktooth Hillbilly yet there Millard LOL 🙂 . Anyway Millard, you know what I was sayin` about how small town cops are handled in small towns around here and you know how I have dealt with dirty cops – I wish more would do what I have done cause it usualy works and if not they are at least not full time cops any more `cause every one would know every thing about the dirty cop to be a cop.

          1. It’s almost come to the point where you must sell your soul and relinquish any remnants of morality to wear a badge today. I’m sorry, I know there exists officers that still have honor, but it seems they are overwhelmingly outnumbered by those absent of any morals and are nothing more than paid thugs on the town’s payroll. How about they police their own to improve community relations and excise those that have already shown their true intent.

  2. There should be no reason why those videos could not be copied and sent to the family’s attorney under court order. Sending to another law enforcement office has the potention for quid pro quo, the mutual back scratching that is so common.

  3. He said, “We still have to secure the evidence, especially when the evidence can tell us whether we did it right or wrong,” Youngblood said.” Even a Mongolian idiot could tell you just from hearing the testimony if they got it right or not. Beat a guy , not restrain ,him with with 8 cops hitting him 20 times in the head with hard wood or plastic night sticks and he dies, is possibly not their fault? Hello, is anybody home?

  4. This sh+t is getting far too common Oathkeepers do you hear me? The feds are training these guys and using judges and unions to ptotect their ASSets

    I remember when complaints or the intervention of other officers would get an ahole off the street

    Not anymore
    I guess when the tox report shows something positive they will all live happily ever after
    Wake up sheep before you or yours becomes victim

  5. Have no fear, folks. The FBEye is now on the case. I’m sure we’ll see justice served immediately, if not sooner.

    And pigs DO fly, BEFORE the cows come home to roost.

  6. The blue wall of “We did nothing wrong and we are right” is up and running. I lived in this town, in the mid 1970’s, it has only gotten worst. If there is a G-D, G-D help “We the People”.

    1. “We the People” need to help ourselves. As long as we put up with these animals, hand-trained by Israhell, they will treat us like the cowards that they think we are. They need to be met with equal and opposite force. Just like the video the other day of them breaking into a home without a warrant. To me, that was breaking and entering, and they would’ve been met with a 12 gauge here. They may kill me, but I’ll die on my feet, not on my knees licking their boots. I will use my God-given right to defend myself, like He would expect me to.

  7. When I was a Marine brig chaser, it was a CRIME to strike a prisoner in the head with your nightstick, exactly because it was LETHAL force. This was PREMEDITATED MURDER.

  8. BIG BRAVE HEROES jail Kindergartners for finger guns, taze Grade Schoolers for disruptions, MURDER CIVILIANS for no reason, and then run and hide when Benghazi, IRS, Fast& Furious, come along.

  9. Unfortunately the FBI is also lacking in credibility and reliability. We still haven’t seen the CCTV videos seized by FBI on 9-11. At least the Kern Co. Sheriff got a warrant for the seizure of the phones. We haven’t yet heard if Sheriff’s dash cams recorded anything. Seems the training of zero tolerance to resistance and over-reaction is a tactic that is part of law enforcement these days. And beating a man on his head should never be part of tactical training. That’s a lethal response.

  10. If an autopsy shows ANY trauma to the head, there should be murder charges brought against every cop who used his baton on the man’s head.

    At this point the video is irrelevant. Seize the night sticks of the deputies and test them for David Sal Silva’s DNA. You get a match and they are busted.

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