Police Abuse

Cops Beat "Possibly Intoxicated" Man to Death in Bakersfield; Citizen Camera Evidence Seized

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Modern policing, from Bakersfield California:

Blood stains are still visible on the sidewalk at the corner of Flower Street and Palm Drive, where a Bakersfield man struggled with as many as nine officers and later died this week.

David Sal Silva, 33 and the father of four young children, died early Wednesday morning after deputies say he fought with them and CHP officers who'd responded to a report of a possibly intoxicated man outside Kern Medical Center….

The Kern County Sheriff's Office says Silva resisted, a canine was deployed, more law enforcement arrived, batons were used and the man later had trouble breathing. He was taken to KMC, where he died. An autopsy was slated for Thursday, but no results have been released.

Some witnesses apparently took cellphone video of the incident but deputies moved quickly to seize the phones. The Sheriff's Office, after releasing a statement Wednesday and naming its officers Thursday, declined all further comment.

People who say they witnessed the incident as well as Silva's family members described a scene in which deputies essentially were beating a helpless man to death. They were indignant that cellphone video had been taken away by deputies…..

At about midnight, Ruben Ceballos, 19,was awakened by screams and loud banging noises outside his home. He said he ran to the left side of his house to find out who was causing the ruckus.

"When I got outside I saw two officers beating a man with batons and they were hitting his head so every time they would swing, I could hear the blows to his head," Ceballos said.

Silva was on the ground screaming for help, but officers continued to beat him, Ceballos said.

After several minutes, Ceballos said, Silva stopped screaming and was no longer responsive.

And apparently stealing any possible evidence of their guilt is par for the course with the police:

John Tello, a criminal law attorney, is representing two witnesses who took video footage and five other witnesses to the incident. He said his clients are still shaken by what they saw.

"When I arrived to the home of one of the witnesses that had video footage, she was with her family sitting down on the couch, surrounded by three deputies," Tello said.

Tello said the witness was not allowed to go anywhere with her phone and was being quarantined inside her home.

When Tello tried to talk to the witness in private and with the phone, one of the deputies stopped him and told him he couldn't take the phone anywhere because it was evidence to the investigation, the attorney said…..

A search warrant wasn't presented to either of the witnesses until after Tello arrived, he said, adding that one phone was seized before the warrant was produced.

Tello said the phone of the first witness was taken after the deputies told him he was either going to give up the phone the easy way or the hard way.

Oh well, one less possibly drunk guy in public is one less possibly drunk guy in public, right?

Silva left behind four children, ranging from ages 2 to 10 years old. As of Thursday afternoon, his mother said, they hadn't figured out how to tell the children their father is dead.