Kern County Sheriff says death of David Silva ruled accidental

Investigators say they used agency protocol

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern County Sheriff's Office has ruled the in-custody death of a Bakersfield man as accidental.

Investigators say they followed agency protocol that included the use of batons to control David Silva.

On May 7th, deputies with the Kern County Sheriff's Office responded to the corner of Palm and Flower where an intoxicated David Silva lay on the side walk in an unconscious state.  After waking him up, the deputy attempted to arrest him.

"The first deputy had already used his baton for two strikes on Mr. Silva.  As he felt like he was losing the fight and he couldn't keep Mr. Silva on the ground.  He was going to lose the entire incident and his life would be in danger.  The second deputy engaged with his baton and struck Mr. Silva several times," said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

The sheriff says only three of the seven deputies used their batons and every strike was in a recognized area for law enforcement.

"According to the autopsy there were zero, no strikes to the head or the neck of Mr. Silva," he said.

Investigators say bruises found on Silva's face was a result of him falling down the night of the incident and nothing else.

"When you mix drugs with other drugs, it can cause erratic behavior and in this particular case, the deputies described someone who was under the influence of meth and other drugs and was extremely strong, was extremely large and it took this number of deputies to control him to keep him from hurting himself or hurting deputies," said Youngblood.

The sheriff blames the media for creating hysteria in the community concerning the way deputies arrested Silva.

“This type of incident is not uncommon in law enforcement across this country.  This particular case and the way it was handled in the media sent shock waves all across the United States," he said.

Sheriff Youngblood says the public will judge his department by the facts in the case.  The sheriff says an oversight committee is not the answer.

"As the sheriff or the chief of police, we deal with facts, we deal with law and we deal in policy.  We don't deal with emotion,” said Youngblood.

In the meantime, a community rally for David Silva is scheduled to take place this Saturday in the spot where he passed away.

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