BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — New video shows the graphic moments Robert Bruce Waters, 42, was arrested in Oildale after deputies were called to a possible domestic violence situation — shortly before he died in Kern County Sheriff’s Office custody.
The video shows Waters being bitten by a K9, struck, and restrained on his stomach. Over time, deputies urge Waters to stay calm and stop moving so he could be checked on by a paramedic. He is heard giving bizarre statements; at some points accusing deputies of trying to kill him long after he had already been handcuffed, and at one point telling responders to skip the ambulance and take him to jail.
Eventually, Waters was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident happened in April 2020, but Waters’ cause of death had not been released until a follow-up inquiry by 17 News.
According to the coroner, Waters’ death was an accident caused mainly by drugs that included Bupropion.
According to Medicine Plus, a service run by the National Library of Medicine as part of the National Institutes of Health, Bupropion is used as an antidepressant and to help people quit smoking, but can have side effects on a person’s mental and physical health.
However, Waters’ sister, Cecilia Sullivan, thought it was “a stretch” for Bupropion to be the main reason for his death. She said while serving in the Marine Corps, her brother was diagnosed with paranoia and began to “spiral” upon returning to the States, so he used medication often.
Other significant factors, according to the coroner, was Waters being restrained while handcuffed and prone, obesity and hypertensive heart disease.
“I am the only person that is involved in his life, I was his only living relative,” said Sullivan. “Even if I can see the body camera video just to have a better understanding myself, I think it would really have closure for me.”
Sullivan also acknowledged she didn’t have much information about Waters’ death, saying KCSO did not give her enough to help fill in blanks.
“All I have are his ashes,” said Sullivan.
When asked on why it took so long for more information to be released on the death, KCSO had no further comment to offer.