UPDATE: Witnesses say authorities erased video of Kern County beating

A Kern County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle.
A Kern County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle. Courtesy Kern County Sheriff's Office

The FBI has agreed to investigate the death of a man beaten by Kern County sheriff's deputies while witnesses shot video with cellphones. Witnesses Melissa Quair and Laura Vasquez tell the L.A. Times that authorities allegedly erased a video of the beating.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood said Tuesday that he asked the FBI to conduct a parallel probe into the death of 33-year-old David Sal Silva.

Youngblood says his department took two cellphones seized from witnesses to the FBI's Sacramento office.

The department has come under scrutiny for seizing the phones, but Youngblood defends the move, saying they were taken with warrants as part of the investigation.

Deputies said Silva fought them May 8 after they approached him about complaints of drunken people in the area. Six deputies, a sergeant and two California Highway Patrol officers were at the scene. Silva was beaten, stopped breathing and died at a hospital.

This story has been updated.

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