Questionable Autopsy Determines David Silva Died of Heart Disease, not Deputy Beating

Kern County Coroner


The Kern County Coroner – who reports to the Kern County Sheriff – determined that Kern County deputies did not cause the death of a 33-year-old man whom numerous witnesses said was beaten viciously with batons and kicked to the head before he was hogtied and slammed to the ground twice.

So that should put to rest to any speculation that deputies did anything wrong on the night David Silva died.



Sheriff Donny Youngblood said his deputies were trying their best to help him but Silva when they roused him from a slumber after he had passed out in front of a house, but the father of four was able to fight off seven deputies, two California Highway Patrol officers and one dog before he finally succumbed to heart disease.

Hypertensive heart disease, to be exact.

The autopsy also determined that Silva had methamphetamine in his system as well as a blood alcohol content of .095, just slightly over the legal limit to drive in most states.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

During a news conference Thursday, Youngblood said only three deputies delivered blows to Silva, and none to the head or neck.

Youngblood said the first deputy to arrive found Silva lying on the ground and gave him a knuckle rub on the chest to try to wake him up.

According to the sheriff: Silva got up on his knees and then fell over on his face. When the deputy tried to help him up, Silva “took a rigid stance.” The deputy warned Silva he would release a police dog on him if he did not cooperate. When Silva continued to resist, the deputy remotely released the dog from his cruiser. The dog bit Silva several times and bit the handler deputy as well, Youngblood said. Silva grabbed the dog by the throat.

More deputies arrived, and the struggle continued, the sheriff said.

Youngblood had strong words about coverage of the case: “I think the media caused a lot of this hysteria that occurred in this community,” he said.]

The truth is, there has not been enough hysteria about this case. Six people, none who knew Silva beforehand, said they witnessed deputies beating him to death.

Two of them recorded video, which police bullied into handing over. One of those videos was apparently deleted by either Kern County sheriff’s deputies or Bakersfield police.

And the FBI is claiming they are unable to retrieve it, according to an attorney for the witnesses.

The FBI, however, is still investigating and have not made any public statements. Call them at their Los Angeles field office at (310) 477-6565 or email them at to let them know we’re paying attention.

The other video, which was recorded after Silva was already hogtied, which was when they stopped beating him with batons, captured the blood curdling cries of a man being tortured.

A third video from a home security camera shows the swinging of batons but it’s dark and grainy. Those videos are below along with the calls to dispatch describing the scene.

Also, video from CHP dash cams have not been released nor have the audio recordings from the devices they were wearing on their uniform.

Below are witness statements from earlier Los Angeles Times articles:

At about midnight, Ruben Ceballos, 19,was awakened by screams and loud banging noises outside his home. He said he ran to the left side of his house to find out who was causing the ruckus.

“When I got outside I saw two officers beating a man with batons and they were hitting his head so every time they would swing, I could hear the blows to his head,” Ceballos said.

Silva was on the ground screaming for help, but officers continued to beat him, Ceballos said.

After several minutes, Ceballos said, Silva stopped screaming and was no longer responsive.


Echoing the account of two other people interviewed, Vasquez said the first two deputies at the scene woke Silva, who was sleeping in front of a house, and ordered him not to move. When Silva sat up, looking confused or scared, a deputy hit him in the head, Vasquez said.

“He fell back and then the other officer got out and swung toward his head,” she said. “Mr. Silva was reaching for his head and the officers said ‘stop moving’ and ‘stop resisting.’ He wasn’t resisting. … He rolled on his back and they kept hitting.”

More deputies and two California Highway Patrol officers arrived at the location. Vasquez said the deputies hogtied Silva, lifted him off the ground and dropped him twice, and delivered more baton blows and kicks to his head and body until he went limp.

“He was screaming for help. He was laying on his chest. The cops were still on top of him, still hitting him. My family and I screamed at them to stop hitting him.… The blood was all over Mr. Silva’s face. We couldn’t even tell if he had eyes or a mouth.”

Vasquez said her girlfriend yelled, ” ‘Somebody call the cops,’ and everybody looked at her and said, ‘They ARE the cops.’ “

So it is essential that Silva’s family demands another autopsy from an independent pathologist.

After all, it’s not like medical examiners have never lied before to protect the interest of their cohorts..

Take the case of Martin Lee Anderson, a 14-year-old boy who was tortured to death by guards in a Florida boot camp in 2006.

The death became a cause célèbre and received national attention. The local Medical Examiner, Dr. Charles Siebert, performed an autopsy and ruled that the teen died of “complications from sickle cell trait”. He said, “It was a natural death.”[4] This caused further public outcry. The Governor ordered a second autopsy; the second pathologist, Dr. Vern Adams, ruled Martin Anderson’s death was “caused by suffocation due to actions of the guards at the boot camp. The suffocation was caused by manual occlusion of the mouth, in concert with forced inhalation of ammonia fumes that caused spasm of the vocal cords resulting in internal blockage of the upper airway.”[5]


About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • rick

    Did heart disease also delete the cell phone video?

  • rick


  • Rob

    These officers all knew about his heart condition, and they were trying to save him.

    All joking aside, I think there is a high probability that the medical examiner had a meeting with a very persuasive Sheriff before coming to a conclusion that the massive blunt force trauma Silva received just before dying wasn’t what “actually” killed him. *nudge nudge wink wink*

  • REALConservative

    Coming to a press conference near you;

    Police chief: “In spite of the multiple bullet wounds to the torso and head, our investigation indicates that the suspect died of the complications of anxiety and cardiac arrhythmia.”

  • Arcangelo ‘Cisco’ Cocco

    The coverup starts. The cops will get away with murder once again.

  • Rail Car Fan

    Once again the “Badge Bully” cops get away with murder!!

    Rail Car Fan

  • Ademo

    Carlos, I’ve been to Kern’s Co and Sheriff Youngblood is a killer himself. Check out these other stories about Kern’s County or Bakerfield (the center of Kerns Co). These cops kill for fun, no joke:

    Seriously how to people allow this guy to be sheriff still? He clearly runs the county like it’s his own turf!

    • Carlos_Miller

      I remember writing about that video in the third link back in 2010. It really shows the importance of equipping your home with security cameras.

      I’m wondering if bails bondsmen have the legal right to enter your home without a warrant, do we have the legal right to shoot them – especially if they’re looking for somebody that doesn’t even live there.

      • ProudGrandPa

        You wrote:
        “…Six people, none who knew Silva beforehand, said they witnessed deputies beating him to death.”
        Do you know if these were interviewed by the coroner? What did they say?

  • JdL

    To state the obvious: if justice does not come through official channels, it will come via back-door means. In saying this, I’m not advocating extra-legal violence; I’m merely saying that it’s inevitable, and that criminal government thugs will have only themselves to blame. This won’t, of course, stop them from screaming at the top of their lungs what innocent and pathetic little victims they are.

  • Name

    The family needs to pay for a private autopsy. They need pictures of the injuries. If his skull is caved in, it might make the police account look less credible (with or without video).

  • MongoLikesCandy

    There MIGHT be some truth to that. He MIGHT have just come from the triage area of a hospital where he spent several hours. So instead of beating a man to death they MIGHT have just found a man in dire need of medical assistance — and then beat him. I feel much better.

  • tinynot

    FACT: {this is will continue until we all have had enough, and WE make it stop!} that was, is and always will be the bottom line in all this shit! i dont care a crap where the buck stops, cause it does not matter! at all!!!

  • Jason M

    “The deputy warned Silva he would release a police dog on him if he did not cooperate.”

    Police dogs are a tool for compliance?

  • stupidamerkin

    Judgement day for these killers and all those in the cover up is soon at hand. As it has been written, Live by the sword and you will die by the sword.

  • James Stephen Noble

    this is a cover-up and outrage. we as citizens need to fight and protect each other.

  • al

    For the Kern Co, Coroner to do the autopsy and report is a conflict of interest; professionally inexcusable.

  • James Stephen Noble

    Kern County Coroner should turn himself in to authorities and resign to admit for perjury and lying in official matters along with admission of collaboration with deputies and sheriffs dept officials and the sheriff. we are not stupid.

  • certain

    How could a rational person ever accept this as being legitimate? Multiple people beat a person, literally to death, not a single one of them has so much as a hangnail (other than the police dog inflicted bites), and somehow it was justifiable. Much as with Kelly Johnson, how can there be any fucking question what happened? Our system is fucked.

  • io-io

    OK, Let’s see the sequence of events….

    * Several witnesses observe a man being beaten by police.
    * A number of the witnesses take video clips.
    * Man dies.
    * Sheriff Deputies illegally detain witnesses who took the videos.
    * Sheriff Deputies obtain a warrant to seize the videos.
    * Sheriff Deputies return cell phone with the video being “lost”.
    * Was the video ever taken?
    * Did the beating really happen?
    * Corner declares man dies from heart disease.

    So what should we expect next?

    * Police declares that an internal investigation shows the Sheriff Deputies, followed department policies in rendering assistance to a sick man.
    * DA decides that there is no case.

  • disqus_cPhujreQ1U

    I remember growing up my father taught me if I ever needed help to find a police officer. 40 years later that is the last thing I would do.
    I trust the criminals motives more than the police, I know what criminals will do, the police i’m not so sure.
    We are older citizens (50+) and we were pulled over for speeding on the interstate (7 miles per hour over) on a sunday morning, late for church. The highway patrol officer yelled at us, threatened us with incarceration, searched our vehicle, made us feel terrified.
    We don’t even have police records,been lawabiding our whole lives, We are clean cut, we work pay taxes, go to church, volunteer for our community, happily married for over 28 years, don’t drink and are in bed by 8 pm. We were driving a vehicle only a couple of months old with insurance, proper registration and the correct plates.
    I just don’t get it. Why should we live in fear of leaving our home because a “peace officer” may assualt us again?
    When is enough enough?

  • rick
  • TellTheTruth

    YOU are such a liar!!! Just tell the facts. This incident didn’t happen anything like you are telling people it did. You are trying SO hard to incite the public!!! Are you trying for your “share” of the settlement. Sad that you don’t just tell the truth about what happen. You are a disgrace!!!!