Yesterday afternoon at 3:30 PST, the office of Kern Country Sheriff Donny Youngblood released the following press statement about the death of David Sal Silva, a case that has begun to get local and national media attention. Silva died in-custody, and the release of video and a chilling 911 call raises several questions about the law enforcement officers who were at the scene last week in Bakersfield.
Here is the statement:
On Monday May 13th, 2013 Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) analyze the two cell phones seized pursuant to a search warrant related to the in custody death of David Silva. Specifically, Sheriff Youngblood requested the FBI conduct a forensic analysis of the contents of the cell phones. A request to the FBI was made following the preliminary results of the Bakersfield Police Department’s analysis of the phones. The analysis by the Bakersfield Police Department confirmed the existence of video footage related to this incident on one phone and no video footage on the second phone. This prompted the subsequent request for further analysis by the FBI. Sheriff Youngblood also requested the FBI conduct a parallel investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident. Today, Sheriff’s Office personnel transported the phones to the FBI Sacramento Office for analysis. Sheriff Youngblood will be available in the auditorium at the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters Facility, 1350 Norris Rd. in Bakersfield at 4:00 pm to address media inquiries.
The Los Angeles Times also reported additional quotes and details from Youngblood. According to the LA Times, Youngblood said the following: “I took the unprecedented step of asking the FBI to conduct a parallel investigation. Our credibility is at stake here.”
In addition, the Times story also reported that Youngblood has now placed the Kern County officers on paid leave, which is a new development. Earlier this week, the officers were still on active duty. The Kern County officers are Deputies Ryan Greer, Tanner Miller, Jeffrey Kelly, Luis Almanza, Brian Brock, David Stephens and Sgt. Douglas Sword. The story also said that the cellphones in question are now with the FBI as of yesterday. Finally, there are reports that the cause of Silva’s death is dependent on “toxicological tests, which could take 90 to 120 days.”
The Times piece aslo ran a quote from a witness who claimed to have seen the entire incident: “I saw two sheriff’s deputies on top of this guy, just beating him. 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.”
Earlier this week, the Times published an initial summary of the story. This video does not include the new developments about the FBI investigation, but it does provide some good details about events surrounding Silva’s death.