Questions, suspicion and grief hang over in-custody death case

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Two days after a 33-year-old man died while in the custody of Kern County deputies, the questions and accusations are mounting.

David Silva died just after midnight Wednesday, minutes after a confrontation with deputies. Law officers reportedly tried to take Silva into custody for public intoxication, and Silva allegedly fought and resisted arrest. The sheriff's office has admitted to using "baton strikes" to gain control of the situation.

Friday morning, the coroner's office released its first post-autopsy comment, which left much unanswered: "After completing an autopsy, the cause of death is pending toxicology and microscopic studies."

Silva's family is now reacting, telling the public about the man they knew, and accusing the deputies of murdering their loved one.

Witnesses are also accusing deputies of beating Silva to death without just cause. They also claim the sheriff's office has targeted them for speaking out about what they saw that night.

EYEWITNESS NEWS TEAM COVERAGE (Click headlines for extended versions)

In-custody death: 'the people who were supposed to help him were the ones killing him'

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) David Silva's brother, Christopher Silva, is in mourning. But, that has not stopped him from speaking out.

He said his brother was murdered at the hands of those who should have been fighting to save him.

Witness with cellphone video says deputies heavy-handed in trying to seize it: 'You're going to give us your phone one way or the other'

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Still more questions have been raised about the death of a suspect in Kern County Sheriff's Office custody. A witness to the incident asked why he was arrested hours after talking to a reporter, and a family questioned the way their cellphone video of the incident was seized.

Witness says he was arrested for speaking up about use of force by deputies

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Less than 24 hours after speaking to Eyewitness News about what he witnessed Tuesday night, Jason Land found himself in jail. Now, he says he's fearing for his life.

"They jumped out, reached for their bats, and beat that man until they killed him," he said, "right in front of my face."

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