Fatal Bakersfield Beating Highlights Latino Fear of Police

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The beating death of 33-year-old father David Silva in the central California city of Bakersfield last week has garnered national attention. Univision reports the incident highlights the Latino community’s ongoing fear of law enforcement.

Univision Los Angeles reminds viewers “the death of David Silva from Bakersfield is one more in a long list of beatings by police agents in California.” The site went on to list some of the more well-known police beatings in recent years across the state.

Silva, the father of four young children, died May 8 after deputies say he fought with them and CHP officers who'd responded to a report of a possibly intoxicated man. Several passersby who filmed the alleged beating later had their phones taken by police.

An FBI investigation into the case is currently underway.

Bakersfield reporter Juan Carlos Gonzalez found that many of the city’s Latino residents are afraid to talk about the incident.

“Here where the incident occurred, it’s clear that people are afraid of law enforcement,” he reported. “Of all the people we tried to talk to, only two agreed to be interviewed, but only on condition of anonymity.”

Gonzalez reports that there have been “many cases of abuse” involving police and Latino residents. Nearly 50 percent of the city’s 400,000 residents are Latino.

One man who spoke on condition of anonymity told Univision through his screen door, “Generally people who are Mexican or just not American are treated worse than animals, in jail, in the street, wherever.”