A half-dozen Kern County sheriff’s deputies were across the street beating a man with clubs and kicking him, she said. So she whipped out her mobile phone and began to video the episode, announcing to the officers what she was doing.
For about eight minutes, Ms. Melendez said, the man screamed and cried for help. Then he went silent, she said, making only choking sounds.
Finally, having hogtied him, a number of witnesses said, two officers picked up the man and dropped him, twice. One deputy nudged the man with his foot. When he did not respond, they began CPR.
“He was like a piece of meat,” said Ms. Melendez, 53, who was visiting her son at the hospital after he was injured in a car accident. “We were telling them: ‘He’s dead. You guys already killed him.’ ”
Responding to a call, deputies had arrived at the scene to find the man, David Sal Silva, a 33-year-old father of four, on the pavement. Their attempts to rouse him resulted in the altercation, the authorities said. Mr. Silva was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Kern Medical Center.