The police officer seen in a viral TikTok video punching a woman involved in a car crash Friday is a six-year veteran of the Vallejo Police Department with a history of violent incidents, Open Vallejo has confirmed.
Law enforcement sources identified Ofc. Colin Eaton as the officer in the video, which shows Eaton punching the woman once in the head after wrenching her from a blue Nissan Altima that had collided with an SUV and a cement truck. The sources spoke with Open Vallejo on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal personnel matters.
“He punched me in my face,” the woman screams. Bystander Romyr Hamilton recorded and posted the video to TikTok Friday.
“Once she was on the ground, I think the punch was unnecessary,” Hamilton said in an interview Wednesday. “She was just in a car accident. She’s still a human being. She may be hurt.”
Eaton is one of six officers who shot and killed Willie McCoy, a 20-year-old musician, as he roused from sleeping in his car in February 2019. Nine weeks later, Eaton and another officer from the McCoy shooting, Jordon Patzer, violently arrested McCoy’s niece, Deyana Jenkins, during a traffic stop. And in 2020, Eaton was suspended for 80 hours without pay for telling a man, “I will fuck you up” while brandishing a baton, then placing his boot on the man’s head for nearly a minute and a half, public records show.
Eaton declined to comment for this article, instead referring questions to department spokesperson Sgt. Rashad Hollis, who in turn referred this newsroom to a press release published Saturday.
Vallejo police said in the press release that last week’s incident began when staff at a local retail store told Eaton that two people had allegedly stolen more than $1,000 in merchandise. When Eaton, who was not named in the statement, tried to conduct a traffic stop, the driver failed to yield and ran a red light before colliding with the two other vehicles, the statement read.
The video then shows Eaton pull the driver from the car, whose airbags deployed, and slam her against the cement truck. The two struggle and fall to the ground, where Eaton punches the woman in the head before handcuffing her. The driver and another person were brought to the hospital before being taken to Solano County Jail, according to police.
On Monday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the city of Vallejo alleging that its police officers routinely violate residents’ constitutional rights. The city will now be subject to a five-year consent decree imposing numerous reforms on the department.
At a Monday morning press conference in Vallejo, Bonta said he was familiar with the Friday incident.
“I saw the video. It was disturbing, and it was concerning,” Bonta said.“There will be an opportunity for investigation, review, oversight — also legal accountability, if necessary.”