Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

California sheriff’s deputies beat allegedly unconscious man to death

Written By: Bob - May• 14•13

It’s pretty damn sad to be a middle-aged man drunk and passed out in public, but it shouldn’t be a death sentence as it was for a Bakersfield man named David Silva.

According to eyewitnesses, Silva was passed out in the street when Kern County Sheriff’s deputies Sgt. Douglas Sword, Deputy Ryan Greer, Deputy Tanner Miller, Deputy Jeffrey Kelly, Deputy Luis Almanza, Deputy Brian Brock, and Deputy David Stephens decided to beat him to death.

A statement from the sheriff’s department said a deputy and K9 were sent to the area after someone reported a possibly intoxicated man. The deputy called for backup and another seven officers plus two members of the California Highway Patrol showed up.

The statement said Silva resisted when the deputies tried to restrain him, forcing them to use their batons on him.

However, multiple witnesses, many of whom filmed the violent scene unfolding, claim the attack was completely unprovoked.

Sulina Quair, 34, called 911 and can be heard saying: ‘There’s a man laying on the floor, and your police officers beat the **** out of him and killed him…

‘I got it all on video camera and I’m sending it to the news. These cops have no reason to do this to this man. You’ve got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 sheriffs. The guy was laying on the floor and eight sheriffs ran up and started beating him up with sticks. The man is dead, laying here right here, right now.’

Follow the link to see some grainy video that may as well be a moving rorschach test.

The problem with the human animal is its herd mentality. Without extremely strong morals and ethics, most of us—I’d argue a supermajority—can be desensitized and programmed to do truly horrific things. This seems to be the status quo in Kern County law enforcement circles.

It is an outrage that these law enforcement officers apparently beat a man to death that wasn’t a threat to them or anyone else. It is even more of an outrage that this isn’t apparently a one-off affair;  Kerns County Sheriff Donny Youngblood’s deputies have a reputation of violence:

The Silva episode follows several high-profile brutality cases involving the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in recent years.

One led to criminal convictions of three deputies and a $6-million civil judgment in the 2005 death of a jail inmate, according to attorneys. Another resulted in a $4.5-million court award for the family of a man who died in 2010 after being struck 33 times with batons and shot 29 times with Tasers, attorneys said.

A deputy accused in the civil lawsuit over the 2010 death has the same name as one of those who confronted Silva. Youngblood would not confirm that it was the same deputy, however.

At the moment, allegations of an attempted cover-up seem to be plausible, and Sheriff Youngblood needs to understand that if he allows this sort of behavior to continue, he’s putting the lives of all of his personnel at risk. If people in Kern County come to feel that even the most routine and benign interactions with the deputies could end up in fatalities, they may instead opt for preemptive violence against law enforcement officers over the most trivial offenses.

When law enforcement becomes just another armed gang, the rest of the society will begin treating them like an armed gang, and deputies are going to start going to the morgue instead of home at the end of their shifts.

Considering the history here, Sheriff Youngblood needs to immediately suspend these deputies (incredibly, they are all still working), and make sure that the investigation is handled by an impartial 3rd party department,  in the most transparent way possible. If he cannot regain public confidence in his department then he impeaches his own credibility, and must resign.

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14 Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    It has been this way a very long time.

    See these.
    http://www.lawofficer.com/article/legal/well-kick-your-ass-slogan-sher
    and this.
    http://www.snopes.com/photos/signs/kern.asp

    Kern County has had a reputation going back years for shooting Bank Robbery suspects after the crime has occured.

    Look up or corrupt D.A. some time too.

  2. Thomas says:

    “Our” Corrupt D.A.
    His name is Ed Jagels.
    Just for fun Google Christopher Hillis.
    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x1055276358/Man-who-killed-assistant-D-A-released-from-prison

    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x2067559324/Kerns-longest-serving-DA-to-step-down-speaks-on-controversial-career

    We have quite the “Sodom in Onion Fields” going on.
    As an aside, I went to school with the Hettinger kids of the “Onion Field” fame.

  3. david7134 says:

    A company called The Teaching Company offers lectures on various subjects. The one I am listening to currently has to do with personal liberity. I have found that, despite the Constitution, we do not have any expectation of freedom in this country. I was surprised to find that much of the 4th amendment is now gone and this is all secondary to the Supreme Court. Surprisingly, it is liberal judges that have favored elimination of the freedoms we think we have.

  4. david7134 says:

    I had a patient that recieved this type of treatment when he was drunk. Only, he wasn’t drunk, he was hypoglycemic. This guy was by the Medical Center, might have had the same issue.

  5. Orion says:

    I wish these sorts of stories were uncommon.

    Orion

  6. Drew says:

    Funny, Bob is starting to sound like me. I seem to recall a very different tone when I spoke ill of the imperial stormtroopers of the LAPD. (http://www.bob-owens.com/2013/02/still-butt-hurt-over-dorners-suicide/comment-page-1/#comment-57370)
    I understand they’re not all bad, but so long as minimal effort, if any at all, is made to drive the thugs publicly out of law enforcement(and into jail where they belong), we can expect this to not only continue, but accelerate until the public snaps, and snap they will. When your own dog attacks you, you have to put it down.

    • Cole says:

      One was a spree killer who had left a body trail and was firing on police in a standoff. The other was an unconscious drunk. I don’t see what the two have in common.

      • Drew says:

        First off, you forgot to say ALLEGEDLY. Do they even bother with filing charges with summery execution? I know there was no criminal trial and certainly no conviction.

        I know in the new America, like the old Soviet Union or the holy inquisition, mere suspicion or heaven forbid an accusation was all that was necessary, but I recall something about the phrase “innocent until proven guilty.” Now where do I remember that from?

        Now, I don’t have any problem accepting at least the general idea of the Dorner story. He probably was guilty, or at least that might have been proven in court. Given the manner in which he was run out of the department, judgement rendered by friends of an officer he accused of wrongdoing then fired, I’d be willing to bet that the accusations of corruption made against LAPD barely scratched the surface.

        Second, I was referring to my comments about a bunch of rabid nutcases with badges blasting their way across the Los Angeles area, to hell with anyone who got in the way or was unlucky enough to be confused with a SUSPECTED cop killer.

        As far as what the two have in common? Since we’re talking about the behavior and anticipated consequences of law enforcement officers, how about a club of hyper-violent sociopaths who believe (often correctly) that the law does not, or at least will not be applied to them as they loot, pillage and murder for a living and often as off duty hobbies with near impunity.

        Just as the case with LA, if anyone happens to live in Kern County, California, if/when our current political climate leads to all out war exactly who do we think is going to be on the other side? Officer Friendly and his band of meter maids and paper pushers or men like Kern County Sheriff’s deputies Sgt. Douglas Sword, Deputy Ryan Greer, Deputy Tanner Miller, Deputy Jeffrey Kelly, Deputy Luis Almanza, Deputy Brian Brock, and Deputy David Stephens.

      • Cole says:

        I see what the two events have in common: Your hatred for police. If you really can’t tell the difference between the legitimate use of force against a violent killer versus the cold blooded murder of a defenseless man nothing I say is going to matter. You’ve got a clear grudge. Why else describe the LAPD as the Manson family? That’s a deep bias. It must be horrible living in a world where everyone with a badge is a monster.

      • Drew says:

        Somehow I have confused you. I don’t hate police any more than a pack of wolves. I just don’t have any use for them in general. They aren’t all that effective at preventing crime, pretty useless at stopping crime and are pretty open, as are the courts, about their lack of any duty to protect you even as more and more, and and all forms of self defense are criminalized.

        I am appalled at the way peace officers have been turned into soldiers in the streets, fighting a war against everything, where everyone who is not in their club is considered the enemy. I do not value their profession and I’m not impressed by the jewelry they wear. I don’t consider them gods among men, or even superior men. Just because I do not worship these violent predators does not mean I hate them.

        Go back and read the Declaration of Independence. Weren’t some of the complaints against the crown about keeping standing armies among us and protecting them from justice when they murdered colonists?

  7. Real Deal says:

    The guy was probably wearing a “TEA Party” shirt.

  8. Thomas says:

    Kern County, and Bakersfield in particular, is fairly conservative.
    The Sheriff’s Dept even more so. The Tea Party is popular around here. But, this happened in Oildale, a much more “Redneck” part of town. Youngblood is a much btter Sheriff than his unloved predecessor, Mack Wimbish.
    However, there have been problems with his son and allegations of nepotism.

  9. Comrade X says:

    And the beat goes on:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4eKBAsSu45U

    Death before slavery!

  10. Joe Mama says:

    We (the USA) are so over.

    “Witnesses recorded the alleged beating on their mobile phones. Officers reportedly went to the homes of witnesses and demanded they hand over mobile phone footage of the alleged beating. The police have been criticised by civil rights activists over the alleged searches with claims that the authorities have violated witnesses’ Fourth Amendment rights.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/he-was-begging-for-his-life-us-police-caught-on-camera-beating-drunk-man-david-sal-silva-as-he-lay-on-ground-an-hour-before-he-died-8615242.html