California police accused of erasing video of lethal beating

Witnesses say Kern County officers erased evidence of a police beating that left man dead

Published May 16, 2013 1:25PM (EDT)


As noted here earlier this week, witnesses to a brutal police beating that left California father of four David Sal Silva dead claimed that Kern County officers confiscated bystander video evidence. Attorneys representing the Silva family expressed concern that police may tamper with video evidence. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported,  that "two witnesses who saw Kern County sheriff's deputies beat David Silva before he died accused authorities of erasing one of the cellphone videos that captured the incident."

One of two cell phones seized by authorities at the scene now has now footage on it. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Kern County Sheriff Danny Youngblood said Tuesday he has asked the FBI to conduct its own investigation after learning that one of two phones seized from witnesses had no footage on it.

The two witnesses told The Times that they watched the videos on each of the phones last week in the wake of Silva's death.

Melissa Quair, 31, said she saw the videos on both phones shortly after the beating, which she witnessed. "They must have gotten rid of one of the videos," she said.

Another witness, Laura Vasquez, 26, said she was "positive" the video had been erased because she watched both of them.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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California David Sal Silva Evidence Kern County Police Police Beating Police Brutality