Last Tuesday, Maria Melendez witnessed a half-dozen sheriff’s deputies fatally beating 33-year-old David Sal Silva—hitting him with clubs and kicking him— in Bakersfield, California outside Kern Medical Center. She began to film the scene on her phone, yelling to the cops that she was filming them.
Melendez, who had been visiting her son at the hospital, reported that the deputies beat Silva for eight minutes as he screamed and cried for help. He was “basically pleading for his life,” said Laura Vasquez, another witness with Melendez. “Then we couldn’t see him anymore. That’s how many cops were on top of him.”
A spokesperson for the Kern County Sheriff’s Department says that Bakersfield Police Department officers had a warrant for both phones they confiscated last week. Law enforcement officials apparently plan to continue holding the phones, as part of the investigation into Silva’s death, and all of the officers involved have returned to full duty.