Witnesses: Deputies used too much force in arrest of Bakersfield resident David Silva

Silva died within hour of arrest

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - People who live in the neighborhood are angry.  Many witnessed the incident and said deputies used way too much force. And his family said they want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.

The sidewalk where 33-year-old David Silva died is still stained with blood.  One woman told 23ABC that she saw Silva just minutes before deputies arrived.  She said she stopped to check on him and made sure he was okay. 

"I seen the guy laying there.  I thought something was wrong with him.  Then when I saw him moving... I saw his chest  moving up and down...I knew that he was just drunk and eventually he'll wake up," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

The woman said she can't believe the man she saw sleeping on the sidewalk is now dead.


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"I had my cell phone out and I was gonna dial 911 and tell them that he was laying there. And I figure he drunk, that's all he is, he drunk.  Somebody gonna come by and get him.  He gonna eventually sober up a little bit and come to himself," said the woman. "And these [explicit] done killed him."

Deputies said when they contacted Silva he resisted and was hit multiple times with nightsticks.  He was taken across the street to Kern Medical Center where he died less than an hour later.  The unidentified woman said Silva was too drunk to have resisted though.

"I am like shocked.  That's like real [explicit] up because that's not something that they can justify," said the woman.

My brother wasn't vicious. He wasn't a criminal. He wasn't a gangster," said David's younger brother, Chris.

Chris Silva said he feels his brother was murdered and now deputies are trying to cover it up.

"He probably was here asleep, for whatever reason, but that doesn't give anyone permission to kill him with seven cops," said Chris.

Two cell phones with video of the incident were seized by deputies.

An attorney for the cell phone owners said his clients are being pressured to change their stories.

"I think they were proving a point to this one person that they thought didn't matter and apparently it really does matter," said Chris. "There are people out here that really care about him and his voice will be heard."

The Kern County Sheriff's Office said all seven deputies involved in the incident are still on active duty.

The funeral for David Silva is planned for Thursday, May 16, at the Greenlawn Memorial Park at 2 p.m.

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