Local News

Friday, May 24 2013 12:40 PM

DA to conduct independent review into death of David Silva

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    By Photo courtesy of the family

    A photograph from the family of David Silva showing him and his three daughters Makayla, 10, Katelyn, 4, and Chelsey, 8.

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    By Alex Horvath / The Californian

    Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood describes the action of David Silva clutching the neck of a sheriff's dog.

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    By Alex Horvath / The Califorian

    David Cohn speaks at a news conference with the family of David Silva, 33, who died while being arrested by Kern County Sheriff's deputies early Wednesday morning. Seated with David Cohn are Chris Silva, brother, Sal Silva, the father, attorney David Cohn and Merri Silva, the mother.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green said Friday that her office will conduct an independent review into the death of David Sal Silva once the sheriff's department and FBI have finished their investigations.

Green said she's requested materials relevant to the case from the sheriff's department, and is also going to wait for evidence from the FBI and her office will then examine everything. She said it's likely it will be a lengthy process.

The decision to conduct the review was made prior to Sheriff Donny Youngblood's offer to her to conduct an investigation, Green said. She said the public doesn't have a lot of information regarding what happened, and she said she thinks citizens "look to the DA's office in order to get the information and reach a just result."

Green made her decision public a day after a news conference in which Youngblood defended his deputies' actions in restraining Silva, and released details from the pathologist's report that Silva was drunk and on three different drugs when he died.

The cause of death was hypertensive heart disease and the pathologist ruled the death was accidental, Youngblood said.

Silva struggled with both deputies and California Highway Patrol officers May 7. Authorities initially arrived following a report of an intoxicated man outside Kern Medical Center, and when Silva woke up he put up a violent fight, Youngblood said.

The sheriff said three deputies used baton strikes on Silva, but no one struck him in the head or neck, only on areas where policy allows them to strike. A canine was also used on Silva and bit him several times, also biting a deputy in the commotion.

Silva, a large man, bucked deputies off of him and continued to kick at them. Youngblood said one of the California Highway Patrol officers who arrived at the scene described it as the most violent case of resisting arrest he'd seen in 12 1/2 years.

The deputies eventually took Silva into custody, but he experienced trouble breathing and died soon after.

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