HOUSTON - Surveillance video appearing to show a Washington County jailer assaulting a college student has been released to the public.
Minister Quanell X, the New Black Panther Nation and New Black Muslims leaders joined Bishop James Dixon, other community leaders, family, friends, and supporters gathered at Community of Faith Church Thursday in support of Gregory Webb.
Webb, who was a Blinn College student at the time, was pulled over for a traffic stop in August 2013 and was arrested for possession of marijuana, and booked into the Washington County Jail.
"This young man was pulled over, he went to jail for possession of marijuana. Many college students experiment with marijuana, not a drug dealer amount, just a joint amount," Quanell X said at the press conference.
The activist said that while Webb was in jail, he got into a verbal confrontation with Deputy Christopher Kulow, a jailer who was attempting to harass and intimidate him.
"Deputy Kulow did not like what this young man had said to him and he wanted to show this young man who was in charge, who was the boss," Quanell X said.
During that time, Kulow and another deputy took Webb out of his cell and placed him in a restraint chair.
Webb's hands and feet were strapped down, his head was strapped down and his chest was strapped to the chair.
Kulow allegedly kicked the chair on its side and got on top of Webb, then began punching him in the face. A surveillance camera captured the incident.
"Deputy Kulow is boom, boom, boom, and then after that third lick, the others deputies grab him and pull him off of him," Quanell X said. "This is the first time where I've seen deputies, even the janitorial service, came forth and called the DA's Office."
Quanell X said janitors and the deputies who witnessed the assault testified that they knew it was wrong.
Kulow was found guilty of official oppression for violating the civil rights of Webb.
Quanell X said he was surprised by the outcome of Webb's case.
"I didn't think in that rural small Texas town that an all-white jury would come back and find a white deputy guilty of anything against a young African American male, but that jury took its time, the district attorney was dynamic and they came back with a guilty verdict," Quanell X said. "[It was] the first time in Washington County's history that a cop has been found guilty of misconduct, abuse on any level against an African American person, male or female."
Quanell X said the deputies admitted that they thought the camera was broken. It had been fixed just a few days before.
"This happens too often. The outcries that have been made by the public around the nation are legitimate outcries. There are people who have been victimized by injustice in the criminal justice systems and in jails who have not yet been heard," Dixon said. "I tremble to think what if we did not have a fixed camera. A broken camera is all that we needed not to ever have known the story that Mr. Webb had endured."
Bishop Dixon said there is a thin line between the cameras and reality.
"Today, we are here to shed light on reality that this is a human life. We say 'all lives matter and black lives matter,' but I want us to understand that cameras matter," Dixon said.
Quanell X said this type of behavior is the reason why so many people are skeptical about Sandra Bland's death.
"This just goes to show why so many African Americans believe that something happened to Sandra Bland inside that jail. Because Washington County is right next door to Waller County," Quanell X said. "This is why so many African Americans are not trustful, have no faith and confidence in what's coming out of Waller County because we know what they do to our young people in jail. He [Webb] is a living testimony of what happened in that jail."
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