The next day, he clarified his statement to CBS: “I think I said, I’m not African American, but I’m pretty darn close. Quite frankly, I could be determined to be the first African American mayor of Stockton.”
In 2014, he was handcuffed after a fight broke out in a limousine. The fight caused $7,000 to $10,000 worth of damage to the car. Curtis Mitchell, who was arrested for the fight, said Silva inappropriately touched his fiancée. Silva denied the claim. The mayor was never arrested, but the limousine’s driver filed a civil lawsuit against him and the other passengers in May.
In 2015, a gun that had belonged to him turned up as the weapon in the slaying of 13-year-old Rayshawn “Ray Ray” Harris, who was shot to death in his driveway in February of that year. It turned out that the .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol had been stolen from Silva’s home during a burglary but the mayor had not reported the gun missing until a month after Harris was killed, the Associated Press reported.
All that could be written off, perhaps, as the erratic, questionable behavior in the life of an eccentric mayor.
But there was no writing off what happened Thursday.
Silva was charged with a felony of secretly recording confidential communications without consent and three misdemeanor charges: contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to people under 21 and child endangerment.
Silva was arrested and, clad in a black T-shirt, shorts, white socks, sandals and now handcuffs, guided into a police cruiser. He was released the same day, after posting $20,000 bail.
The allegations were a bit of a shocker.
After all, he had served as the chief executive of the Boys and Girls Club of Stockton, president of the Stockton Unified Board of Education, and aquatic program director for the San Joaquin County Human Service Agency, where he “help[ed] kids in economically disadvantaged parts of Stockton get access to swimming lessons and pools,” according to his website. He also coached high school water polo for several years.
Finally, he operated the Silver Lake Camp, a camp for disadvantaged youth.
But it was at this camp that police arrested Silva for providing alcohol to minors and proceeding to play a game of strip poker with several of young people there.
One was a 16-year-old boy.
Police said he filmed the game against their will.
His attorney Mark Reichel dismissed the charges, claiming they were a form of political assassination intended to ensure Silva, who is up for reelection in November, “won’t have enough time to clear his name before the election.”
But the investigation began long before now.
In October, federal officers confiscated his cellphone and two of his laptop computers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The FBI turned the details of the investigation over to the Amador County District Attorney’s Office on July 26.
Police found 23 photographs and four video clips that were recorded between Aug. 3 and Aug. 9, 2015, at the Silver Lake Camp, according to a statement by prosecutors reported by the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets.
One of the video clips, taken in Silva’s bedroom at the camp, shows him playing strip poker with several of the camp’s counselors, including one who was 16 years old, according to the reports.
Silva allegedly gave alcohol to the participants of the game, among other underage counselors at the camp.
“In one of the video clips, it appeared that moments after the video began, the phone was set down, darkening the camera lens and thus only containing audio. That clip contains audio of a conversation between participants involved in a strip poker game that occurred in Silva’s bedroom,” prosecutors said in a statement
“The conversation between the participants indicated that they were naked,” it continued. “One of the participants was a 16-year-old male. The audio of the surreptitious recording clearly indicates that the participants did not want to be recorded.”
Silva also allegedly installed hidden cameras in his bedroom and at the Stockton Kids Club.
When asked if Silva had played strip poker with young people at the camp, his attorney Mark Reichel told Reuters, “I highly doubt it.”
He added, “I can’t wait to fight them in court, so we can expose the epidemic of kids at summer camp playing strip poker.”
Silva’s court date is Aug. 18. If convicted, he could serve up to three years in prison.