Bakersfield cops and CHP beat man to death while he begs for his life, then confiscate witnesses' footage

Kern County deputies are accused of savagely beating a man to death while he begged for his life and then intimidating witnesses into giving up their cameras and phones in a coverup. The victim, David Sal Silva, was a 33-year-old father of four, and is alleged to have been publicly intoxicated in Bakersfield, CA, when Kern County deputies and California Highway Patrol officers began to beat him. After he was dead, the officers are said to have then systematically intimidated all witnesses into giving up their cameras and phones:

John Tello, a criminal law attorney, is representing two witnesses who took video footage and five other witnesses to the incident. He said his clients are still shaken by what they saw.

"When I arrived to the home of one of the witnesses that had video footage, she was with her family sitting down on the couch, surrounded by three deputies," Tello said.

Tello said the witness was not allowed to go anywhere with her phone and was being quarantined inside her home.

When Tello tried to talk to the witness in private and with the phone, one of the deputies stopped him and told him he couldn't take the phone anywhere because it was evidence to the investigation, the attorney said.

"This was not a crime scene where the evidence was going to be destroyed," Tello said. "These were concerned citizens who were basically doing a civic duty of preserving the evidence, not destroying it as they (sheriff deputies) tried to make it seem."

A search warrant wasn't presented to either of the witnesses until after Tello arrived, he said, adding that one phone was seized before the warrant was produced.

Tello said the phone of the first witness was taken after the deputies told him he was either going to give up the phone the easy way or the hard way.

"They basically told him they were either going to keep him at this house all night until they could find a judge to sign a search warrant or he could just turn over his phone," he said.

Dad who died during arrest 'begged for his life'; witness videos seized (via Reddit)


  1. Phew! I finally managed to track down and destroy the last video evidencing our murder of that guy.
    Now we can all sleep soundly in the knowledge that we have done our jobs properly.

  2. So, what are the odds that something unfortunate will tragically corrupt the evidence that our hardworking deputies were so careful to collect, and it will turn out that the ‘excited delirium’ got him?

    What a situation like this needs(aside from, y’know, not beating people to death) is application and online service support for ‘write only’ privileges for video and image uploads:

    You can already upload images and video, from most platforms to most services; but if you have your credentials for the service stored on the device, the risk exists that whatever you uploaded can be removed by whoever gains physical access just as easily. Ideally, the accountholder would be able to generate limited credentials that are capable of adding new items to the account; but which cannot view/modify/delete existing account items. 

    1. I have an address group set up on my phone that will let me send a video to Youtube and also to several friends, three of them outside the USA. 

    2. “A spokesperson for the Bakersfield PD said yesterday that no usable video was recovered from any of the phones seized from eyewitnesses, despite the use of standard data retrieval techniques. When questioned by reporters, the spokesperson was initially reluctant to discuss the techniques used, claiming that the process was ‘proprietary’. Eventually, however, he admitted that the retrieval process involved striking the phone repeatedly with a hammer in order to ‘squeeze the data out of it’. He said that police officers were ‘disappointed’, by the failure to recover any usable video using this technique. “It’s not as if we didn’t try,” he said. “Normally, to get data out of a phone, you only need to hit it two or three times, four max. Same as you would with a suspect. Our guys were there for hours, just hammering away at those phones, trying to get something they could use, anything. But we came up empty every time.”

      The remains of the phones have now been returned to their owners.”

  3. Gee maybe if they are done setting up their own terrorist plots to thwart, the FBI could look into these sorts of things… you know in a country where citizen rights still mattered.

    1. Hey!  That’s my line of argument.

      /You forgot: …and trampling all over the rights of people who are involved perfectly legal and constitutionally protected activities…

    1. Please let us know what you find!  I have searched the iOS app store and haven’t found what I’m looking for.

    2. Bambuser is the way to go. Multiplatform and it has been banned in certain Middle Eastern countries, so you know it must be good! Have it on the Nokia N9, it’s pretty sweet

  4. If the videos never turn up, the officers will only be punished for losing evidence instead of murder?

    1. …by the courts. Thanks to the internet, we now have the ability to make these villains wish that they had never been born.

  5. Bakersfield PD Mission Statement:

    The Bakersfield Police Department is committed to professional service which improves community safety and the quality of life by developing partnerships that promote efficient and innovative crime prevention, intervention and law enforcement service.

    This all fits in with that.

  6. What the actual fuck?

    The witnesses need to sue, and this needs to go up high enough in the courts so that we can (re)-affirm our constitutional rights to film the police and be safe from intimidation after doing so.

  7. Do smartphone apps exist that will upload your film as you record it, and if not does anyone want to work on one?

    It would be too much to expect everyone to have such an app pre-downloaded on the off-chance that they see another Rodney King, but if even a few do, and they capture evidence that then gets physically taken away from them and erased, it would be a huge PR loss for the notion that the police have the right to take evidence that incriminates them away from you.

    1.  I don’t have such an app but i know there’s a “send” button which I would make full use of in such a case, not to mention duplicating my memory card ASAP

    2. All Android devices can. Either to your Google account or via Dropbox or both or the many other cloud sharing services out there. I do both by default on all my Android devices, so when I snap a photo on my tablet it syncs with everything else and I can view it on my camera (also running Android!).

    1. It would make a lot more sense to merely hate cops who kill people and confiscate evidence of it.  Also, it’s less depressing.

      1.  That leaves out a lot of assholes who could do with a good dose of opprobrium though.

  8. I’d like to take this opportunity to announce my new smartphone app – one button makes it all happen:


    Geolocation linked in to a cloud app that listens in to police radio.  The app transcribes radio conversations and automatically links you to the most appropriate lawyer according to the situation, who can access the situation within 10 minutes.

    In addition, it automatically takes video and audio feed from your phone, and cannot be switched off, although it will pretend to do so should an attempt be made to shut it down.

    In addition all individuals with the app within a 5 minute travel distance will receive an alert and beacon guidance to the situation, with instructions on positioning to avoid creating an unauthorised gathering.

    Did I miss anything?

      1. Yeah, a quick search didn’t turn up anything useful. Mostly, it showed results for a LexisNexus product called Quicklaw.

      2. Damnit.  You weren’t supposed to ask.

        But it’s not a bad idea eh?!  I could develop it, or maybe make a ton of cashola and flog it to the Bakersfield PD.

        1.  Sadly you could probably make more money developing it and then selling it to someone who had the goal of keeping it off the market.

      1. I have an ActionCam device which came with a handlebar mount, and it looks exactly like a headlight. For situations like this I think people ideally need devices which record continuously, and which are embedded in their clothing, like a button cam or a camera built into a hat. That sort of thing so it doesn’t look like they are filming.

      1.  No ‘pig scum’ tag yet?

        (also, WHY THE RIDICULOUS FUCK does it take double-clicking in the comment box to post a reply, Disqus? Cos hitting the space bar and seeing the comment box fly off the top of the screen is not funny any more)

  9. When the behavior of the police is indistinguishable from that of organized crime, revolution is long overdue.

    1. Something something babies bathwater…  Wait, got it!

      A mother was washing her baby one dayThe youngest of ten; in a delicate wayThe mother was poor and the baby was thin’Twas only a skellington covered with skin
      The mother turned ’round, put the soap on the rack’Twas only a moment but when she turned backHer baby was gone – and in anguish she cried,”Oh, where has my baby gone?”  The angels replied…

      Oh, your baby has washed down the gutterYour baby has gone out the plugThe poor little thing was so skinny and thinHe should’ve been washed in a jug
      Your baby is perfectly happy
      He won’t need a bath anymore
      He’s a-muckin’ about with the angels above
      Not lost but gone on before.

  10. My mom and I were talking about the Leila Fowler case last night, and I mentioned the neighbor who said they witnessed the intruder fleeing the home, and who also later recanted their story. I wondered aloud if they felt they saw an intruder because they might have been pressured by police to say something, or if perhaps their desire to please law enforcement might have been part of it. She replied, “Why is this one of the first things your mind goes to?”

    After reading this story, I dunno, mom. Why do you think?

  11. Yeah… That’s my town alright. We’ve got Rape Cop, These guys, and for a time some of our sheriffs vehicles actually bore the phrase “We’ll kick your ass.” one the side panels. 

  12. I often thing the main difference between cops and those they pursue is that they made it through the police academy before being caught themselves.

    I’ll be 54 this year and I can honestly say I’ve never had a positive interaction with any police.

  13. Looks like we’ve uncovered another Terrorist Cell , the Bakersfield Police Department. 

    I do hope they are all  indicted on Destroying evidence and obstructing justice
    it’s not very likely though, we know how corrupt cops are!

    Is it any wonder why people don’t trust the police?

  14. Printed on the graduation programs of Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy class of 2007  “Don’t suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it.”

    Here we have officers of that vintage.  I certainly hope I never run afoul of these goddamned animals.

  15. start pounding ALL Kern County offices on this issue. Also the Highway Patrol. Next time I get a cop trying to pull me over I will call 911 and say I fear for my life from a police beating… are 8 times more likely to be murdered by American Police then be killed by a Muslim terrorist…..

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