October 27, 2014

Federal Investigation into Death of David Silva Closed

SACRAMENTO, CA—On the evening of May 7, 2013, David S. Silva passed away in Bakersfield, California. Following his passing, allegations were raised that members of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office who encountered Silva that evening may have applied unreasonable force in subduing him. The matter was referred to the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, and to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, for an evaluation of whether the evidence and circumstances of Mr. Silva’s death established a prosecutable violation of the federal criminal civil rights statutes.

After carefully examining the evidence, both the Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office determined there was not sufficient evidence to sustain a federal criminal prosecution, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the federal investigation of this matter has been closed.

“To maintain the public’s trust and fulfill the high obligations undertaken by all law enforcement, it is critical that we diligently evaluate such allegations,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “We undertook a careful evaluation of the evidence in this case, and we appreciate the assistance we received, particularly from our partners in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I extend my condolences to the entire Silva family for the loss they suffered with the tragic passing of Mr. Silva.”