Silva family rallies for justice

Graham C Wheat, Editor-in-Chief

A little more than six months ago a storm of controversial police actions swirled around the city of Bakersfield, and for some that squall is still on the forefront of  city issues.

In what would become national news, the death of local man David Silva quickly spread throughout the community. The controversy around the man’s death, which resulted from officers using force during a call out to Kern Medical Center, was heightened when it was learned that sheriffs and police confiscated video and audio evidence of the altercation.

His family is making sure that he is not forgotten.

On the autumn afternoon of Nov. 8, there gathered at the Kern County Superior Courthouse, in front of the liberty bell on Truxtun Ave. downtown, a small showing of family rallying a cry for justice in the wake of David Silva’s questionable death. Also present were approximately 10 college students, unrelated to the family, making their dissident voices heard on the matters of an encroaching police force. Motorists of Bakersfield showed what support they could by driving past and giving honks of approval.

Chris Silva, younger brother to David Silva, is making sure that the community is aware of what transpired that night, and pleading for a call to action from the police and sheriffs departments as well as the greater Bakersfield community.

“It has been six months of silence,” said the younger Silva. He said that although there was action taken by police, and likewise the FBI, during the aftermath of the first few weeks of David Silva’s death, it has now largely faded from the minds of Bakersfieldians and the police forces of the community.

“The first two weeks were great,” regarding the diligence of investigators searching for answers about his brother’s death. “But now it seems like my brother’s death is no longer important,” said Silva. “Six months go by and nothing has changed.

“I’m not mad at the people who did it…I just want people to look at how these officers are trained.”

Chris Silva remarked about his emotions on the six-month anniversary of the incident, saying that he has felt the gambit of emotions, from anger and remorse to reconciliation, but that there is an overriding factor among that.

“I don’t want this to happen to another family.” He and his family pledge to protest once a month to keep David’s memory alive and until “justice is served.”

The uncle to David, Ralph Silva, 54, and originally from the New York area, drew parallels from this incident to his experiences of police brutality during his younger years spent on the East Coast.

“More people wake up when it happens to them, wake up and actually see the police,” said Ralph Silva.

Of the showing of nonfamily members, California State University-Bakersfield nursing major Andrew Agasid was most vocal on the subject and willing to remove his Guy Fawkes mask (the adopted symbol of “anonymous” on the internet, and widely adopted by a younger generation as a face of resistance) for an interview.

“It seems like our police have lost a sense of compassion,” said Agasid. He said that although he didn’t know the family personally he was there to support the Silva family as a whole, evident by his shouts of “justice for David Silva” while waving an American flag.

Agasid expressed much of the same sentiment felt that day saying, “Most people won’t react until it affects them, and now it’s hit home.”