- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) - The U.S. attorney’s office said Monday it will not file criminal charges in the case of a Bakersfield man who died in police custody after a protracted struggle with deputies who used a police dog and batons to subdue him.

Deputies responding to a report of an intoxicated man said David Silva put up a fierce struggle when they tried to take him into custody on May 7, 2013. They said he tried to choke the police dog that bit him and struggled with several deputies before he was finally restrained.

Soon afterward, Silva, 33, complained of difficulty breathing and died.

The coroner found alcohol, amphetamine, methamphetamine and a muscle relaxant in his system. Silva also had heart disease, which the coroner concluded was the primary cause of death.

“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,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the eastern district of California said in a statement.

Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green previously declined to bring charges against the deputies, concluding they used reasonable force.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood told The Associated Press he wasn’t surprised by Monday’s findings, adding he’d asked the FBI to conduct an independent investigation to be as transparent as possible.

“Quite frankly, I knew what the result would be, having conducted the first investigation,” Youngblood said. “I knew the facts. I knew what occurred and what didn’t occur.”

He said deputies found Silva passed out, half on a sidewalk and half in the street. When they tried to rouse him, he put up a struggle, and it ultimately took five deputies, the dogs and two California Highway Patrol officers to restrain him.

Silva’s family is suing Kern County, and both Youngblood and U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said they emphasize with the family’s loss.

“You have to understand there are relatives involved who don’t want to believe this person did the things we say he did, and that’s understandable,” Youngblood said.

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