BAKERSFIELD, CA - There are many unanswered questions in the death of David Silva, who died in-custody at Kern Medical Center after an eight-minute fight with Sheriff's deputies early Wednesday morning.
The Sheriff's Department refused to answer questions Thursday. The department seized what, eyewitnesses say, was a videotape of the confrontation.
Witnesses said the tape shows deputies using excessive force. 17 News asked for the videotape and the 911 tape, but the Sheriff's Department said 'no.'
"This is a picture of my son when he was born and it's been in my wallet for 33 years," said Sal Silva, David Silva's father.
David Silva was Sal Silva's firstborn son. He's now preparing to bury him.
"To think of your son's last day on Earth being beaten by eight people and have people say he wasn't trying to be aggressive, I feel like my son was murdered," he explained.
Silva said his son is a father of four young children. He struggled with alcohol and had trouble holding down a job. Late Tuesday night, Silva's family believes he went to Kern Medical Center to try and get help.
"He spoke to my mom and he was going through some trouble, personal issues and he knew he had to seek some help," said Chris Silva, David Silva's brother.
Silva believes his son was drunk when he passed out in some bushes outside the hospital. Silva died in-custody after an eight-minute fight with deputies and officers.
"He fought with several deputies and continued to resist before the deputies took him into custody," explained Ray Pruitt, Kern County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies said Silva was combative and they used batons and a dog to eventually subdue him.
"He was on his knees begging for help and he was hogtied and they started beating him. He was asking for help from the people who were supposed to help him out," said Chris Silva.
Silva's family says he was a big guy, standing six feet tall and weighing 280 pounds. "In size he might have been bigger than some people, but that doesn't mean he knows how to defend himself," he continued.
But, Silva's family said they may never know what really happened to the man who cared so deeply about all of them.
"My brother was my protector growing up. I was always small and he was always there around to protect me. I wish I was here when he needed me most," said his brother.
Silva pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace in 2008.
A drunk and disorderly case was dismissed in 2010.