Father questions why son had to die while in police custody

{A href=""}BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The father of a man who died after a struggle with Kern County deputies is left wondering why his son had to die.

"My son died on the street alone at night like this, because they beat him to death," said Salvador Silva, father of 33-year-old David Silva.

Multiple questions surround the death of David Silva, and there are conflicting statements given by witnesses and sheriff's officials.

Tuesday night just before midnight, deputies responded to a call of a man lying on the ground in the area of Flower Street and Palm Drive. But, exactly what took place next is in contention.

"He (Silva) fought with several deputies and continued to resist as the deputies attempted to take him into custody," said sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt.

But people who say they witnessed the incident tell a different story.

"He wasn't resisting arrest, he was begging for his life," said a man identified only as John. Others tell a similar story, saying they saw deputies hit Silva with their batons several times, sitting on Silva holding him down and punching Silva.

Five deputies, a K-9 and two California Highway Patrol officers responded to the scene.

Sheriff's officials say deputies eventually restrained Silva. While being treated at the scene, Silva began having trouble breathing and was taken by ambulance to Kern Medical Center, where he died.

Salvador Silva said his son was a big man but was more of a teddy bear.

"For being drunk, you're going to beat, you're going to kill someone for being intoxicated?" said the elder Silva.

David Silva leaves behind a girlfriend and four young children ages 2 to 10.

"How am I going to tell the kids ... the father that they love is dead now?" asked Silva.

An autopsy will be performed to determine manner and cause of death of David Silva. The sheriff's department has started an investigation into the incident.