A Bakersfield woman and her boyfriend were just leaving the Kern Medical Center last Tuesday night when they claim to have witnessed eight cops attacking a man and beating him with nightsticks until he was dead.
According to the Bakersfield Californian, both the woman, Sulina Quair, 34, and her boyfriend recorded the beating on their cell phones and told the 911 operator she was “sending it to the news”. Nothing stirs cops into action quite like a threat of having their behavior recorded for the whole world to see. Video makes it extremely difficult for them to fabricate a story. By early the next morning, they were at the woman’s house demanding that video.
“We had stopped by Taco Bell to get something to eat, and we were eating and at about 3 a.m. two detectives showed up, barged in without my permission and demanded to see my boyfriend for his phone,” Melissa said.
In that video, Melissa said Friday, it is very clear that the deputies were beating Silva. At one point, she recalled, the deputies had Silva hogtied and they lifted him and dropped him twice and asked if he was still with them.
She said she and her boyfriend were essentially kept captive inside their own home until they released their phones.
Quair and her boyfriend apparently already guessed the implications of turning the video over to the very people (or their associates) likely to be incriminated by the video. Kern County is no stranger to police corruption and misconduct. The attorney for the family of the beating victim, David Sal Silva, is doing his best to keep public attention focused directly on the Kern County sheriff’s department. Without that attention that video would probably mysteriously disappear. Even with the attention, there are no guaranties that it will ever see the light of day. And when cops lose evidence that incriminates them, they very rarely face any repercussions, so they have very little incentive to safeguard that video and every reason to make it magically disappear.
To witness a crime committed by a gang of cops and then being forced to turn over the only evidence of that crime to the cops themselves has to be frustrating.
“I have been crying a lot and his voice just plays over and over in my head,” Quair said Friday. “I sit there and I can still hear him choking in his own blood, trying to gasp for air.”
Eventually people are going to realize that they need to post the video on Youtube before they tell the cops they have video of police misconduct. The safest way is to record the video and immediately send it to someone else so the video can’t be destroyed when the cops confiscate the phone. In fact, cell phone apps are becoming available to help bystanders record cops and automatically send the recording to a third party. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) offers one such app.