Vice 2013/07/08: The Cowboy Cops of Kern County, California, and the Not-So-Accidental Death of David...

Discussion in 'Media Coverage & Other Related Materials' started by M, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. M

    M Muckraker Staff Member

    The cover photo on the Kern County Sheriff Department's website is of Sheriff Donny Youngblood riding a chestnut horse and wearing a big straw Stetson. Since the death of David Sal Silva, a 33-year-old father of four, his deputies have become national symbols of the cowboy culture of Bakersfield, California. Silva died in the process of being arrested, and video cameras captured the beating administered to him by law enforcement. Despite this, his death was ruled accidental.

    The agency Youngblood works for has been colored as trigger-happy good ol' boys, and they do certainly seem to kill a lot of unarmed people for a county that even encompassing all of Bakersfield, its suburbs, and reaching east across the Sequioua National Forest all the way to Ridgecrest, only counts about 800,000 inhabitants.


    Silva's mother would later tell reporters from the Bakersfield Californian that she never spoke to investigators, so, make what you will of that, because it's in a signed report signed by, well, whom, exactly? The autopsy report provided to me and the lawyers in the case is redacted, but it's signed by a coroner and a reporting deputy coroner and by five law enforcement officers acting as witnesses to the autopsy, one from the California Highway Patrol and four from the Kern County sheriff's office.

    [Ja, five thugs from the agencies that perpetrated the beatdown!]


    If you're wondering why Silva was being arrested in the first place, you can go ahead and keep wondering, because that's not clear to me either, and it's not clear how a "fight" developed between a deputy using a baton, a police canine, and a man who couldn't stand up.

    [I think a lot of us have been wondering that.]

    A second deputy arrived. Both officers kept striking Silva with batons. A third arrived and joined in the striking. The deputies told investigators that while they were striking him, Silva picked up the dog by the neck and that, in Youngblood's words, they could see Silva's "hands closing around the dog's throat."

    [While they're striking him? Yes, of course! :rolleyes:]

    A minute of this passed. Two California highway-patrol officers joined. They put a device called a "hobble" on Silva's legs, binding them. Two more Kern County sheriff’s deputies arrived. Youngblood said that one of those deputies was a "very, very, very, stout, large deputy, who said he had to use all of his strength to stay on top of those legs and keep them from kicking the deputies." This was taking place on a man in the process of being arrested for no clear reason, facing a seven-on-one (or eight-on-one, if you count the dog) fight, lying on the ground. Two more deputies eventually arrived. At 12:11 AM Silva's body lay facing south on Palm Drive, his upper body on the sidewalk, his legs in the street. He had no pulse. He was taken back across the street to Kern Medical Center, where at 12:44 AM he was pronounced dead.

    ... it doesn't matter whether or not the officers involved here actually violated any departmental protocols or whether or not there was an attempt at a cover-up later. The point is that this level of force was used at all on a man who wasn't hurting anybody and wasn't even capable of standing up.

    Vice: The Cowboy Cops of Kern County, California, and the Not-So-Accidental Death of David Silva (July 8 2013)

    There's a lot more in the article -- it also discusses the videos, questionable autopsy report, etc.

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