In-custody death case: Witnesses switch lawyers

In-custody death case: Witnesses switch lawyers »Play Video
Media assembles Friday, May 17, 2013, at attorney John Tello's office for a press conference regarding the David Silva in-custody death case in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Javier Posadas)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The family who claims they witnessed Kern County deputies beating a suspect to death will switch attorneys.

John Tello said Friday evening that he's no longer representing the family, and attorney Daniel Rodriguez will take over.

Tello also said the family won't release much-anticipated cellphone video of the incident until next week. A private analysis of the cellphone video isn't compete, Tello said.

The family claims they saw deputies beat 33-year-old David Silva with batons. The sheriff's office has said deputies used batons to gain control of Silva during an arrest, but the witnesses claim the use of force was over the top.

The sheriff's office responded May 8 on a public-intoxication call, leading to the confrontation with Silva. He died just after midnight the next morning, shortly after the late night confrontation, after developing breathing problems. The coroner's office has said the cause-of-death determination is pending toxicology and microscopic studies.

Tello's now-former clients, the witnesses, not only claimed they took video of an undeserved beating, but they claim the sheriff's office was heavy-handed in seizing their phones as evidence.

The phones were returned this week after Bakersfield police and the FBI assisted the sheriff's office in their own analysis.