Harris County Deputy, Ellison Collins, was indicted on an assault charge on Tuesday, October 29. The charge stemmed from an incident that happened in September of 2018. Body cam video of the incident clearly captures Deputy Collins instructing a frail, older man, Jerry Allen Vaco, to go ahead and slap him, while at least three other deputies stand around watching. Vaco seems unsure of what is going on and turns to one of the other officers who directs Vaco back to Collins saying, he is talking to you.
Mr. Vaco then asks Deputy Collins, “Are you going to arrest me?” Deputy Collins replies, “I am giving you permission to slap the shit out of me, and get it off your chest.” Mr. Vaco slowly raises his hand towards Deputy Collins face at which point Deputy Collins slaps Mr. Vaco hard enough to knock him to the ground. The deputies all converge on Mr. Vaco and place him in handcuffs with Deputy Collins saying, “That was stupid.”
Yes, It Was Stupid
What Deputy Ellison Collins did was astoundingly stupid. He’s lucky that Mr. Vaco is only 61 years old. Had he been 65 or older, this crime would have been Injury to Child, Elderly or Disabled which would have been a third degree felony. Not only did Deputy Ellison harass and intimidate a frail old man, he also gave that man permission to slap him then assaults the man when he slowly raises his hand. Mr. Vaco’s confusion was evident. He tried to get the other officers to help but they just stood there like a bunch of frat house boys during a hazing.
Bullies in Uniform
The actions of Deputy Collins, and the other officers on the scene, show why there is so much distrust of officers. Not only does Collins have the authority of his position as an officer to fall back on but he is at least twice the size of Mr. Vaco and obviously in a lot better physical condition. Any one of the other officers could have stepped in and said, hey, back off Collins, but none did. Not one of them followed the creed of To Protect and Serve. Instead, they stood by and watched a vulnerable member of society be bullied and assaulted.
I’ve read multiple news articles on this story and haven’t come across a single one that says anything about any disciplinary action being taken against the officers who stood around and did nothing. And the maximum sentence for Collins is only one year. Odds are he will only get probation. On the bright side, it’s hard to see how Ellison Collins escapes a guilty verdict. If he is found guilty, he will lose his ability to be a police officer in the State of Texas.
You can read the Houston Chronicle article here. Video is below.