Crime & Justice

Kern County sheriff asks FBI to review cellphone videos

Photograh by Perfect Pose via Flickr Creative Commons

Update 5:50 p.m.: Kern Co. sheriff asks FBI to review cell phone videos

The L.A. Times reports that the Kern County Sheriff has asked the F.B.I. to open their own investigation adn review cell phone footage that his deputies confiscated from witnesses of the incident. 

According to the Times, Sheriff Donny Youngblood said he took the 'unprecedented' action in order to restore the credibility of his department and their investigation into the death of 33 year-old David Silva, who died shortly after he was struck by police batons:

"I took the unprecedented step of asking the FBI to conduct a parallel investigation," Youngblood told The Times. "Our credibility is at stake here."

Youngblood said he has also placed the officers on paid administrative leave, a decision made in the last 48 hours, based on information they had received. He said he wanted to ensure the safety of the officers on the street.

Attorneys representing David Silva's family say they fear the footage could be altered or lost.

8:20 a.m.: Kern County’s sheriff is defending the seizure of cellphone video of a man’s deadly encounter with deputies.

David Silva was beaten with batons last week in Bakersfield. The father of four died at a hospital. The cause of death is under investigation.

Hours after the confrontation, detectives confronted two witnesses who’d videotaped the incident and seized their mobile phones.

On Monday, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told the Los Angeles Times that the phones were seized through a search warrant as part of the investigation.

He tells the Bakersfield Californian that the videos will be made public later.

However, an attorney for Silva’s family, David Cohn, says he’s worried that the videos might be altered.