Lawyer to Witnesses in Silva Beating Case: Cell Phone Video Likely to Release on Friday

May 16, 2013
3:15 PM

According to a story in today’s Bakersfield Californian , the attorney to the witnesses who filmed the alleged beating death of 33-year-old father David Silva at the hands of Kern County and California Highway Patrol officers, said that one of the videos his witnesses took and police had initially seized will likely be released “as early as Friday.”


Here is what the article reported:

“I have both cellphones,” Bakersfield attorney John Tello said. “Of course, we have to submit them for forensic examination.”

Silva was pronounced dead at 12:44 a.m. May 8, less than one hour after witnesses said he was descended upon by several Sheriff’s Office deputies, including some who struck Silva multiple times with batons.

Two California Highway Patrol officers also were at the scene.

The cellphones owned by two witnesses were confiscated by Sheriff’s Office investigators later that morning.

Standing in his downtown Bakersfield office Wednesday, Tello said it’s important that a technical examination of the phones be undertaken so that he can determine, if possible, whether any video was deleted from the phones after it was recorded in the early morning hours of May 8.

Tello said he watched the available video Wednesday morning, and he confirmed what Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood revealed Tuesday: that one of the witnesses’ cell phones contains no video. He said he couldn’t comment further about what was caught on video, but he said there’s a possibility the video could be released to the public this week.

“Friday is probably a fair estimate,” Tello said. “It’s the property of my clients, so it’s up to them when it will be released.”

His clients shot the video with the intention of sharing it with news outlets, Tello said. And he has no reason to believe their intent has changed.

Tello said the phone owned by his client Maria Melendez, who was standing closest to the scene of last week’s incident near Kern Medical Center, was the one found to contain no video footage. The phone owned by another client, Francisco Arrieta, contains three video clips of the incident totaling approximately 11 minutes.

This afternoon Latino Rebels talked with Tello’s office and requested to be added to the press list so that we are notified about the release of the videos.