WATCH: Washington County Jailer Convicted of Official Oppression

Aug 19, 2015

BRENHAM – A former Washington County Jailer was found guilty late Wednesday afternoon for official oppression after he beat a restrained inmate in the Washington County Jail on August 22, 2013.

The jury deliberated for more than three hours in Brenham Wednesday afternoon.

Surveillance video presented in court showed Christopher Kulow assaulting Gregory Webb after Webb had been placed in a restraint chair after being disruptive inside a solitary confinement cell.
Prosecutors say Webb had made threats against Kulow and his family when Kulow knocked that chair over, put Webb in a headlock and punched him in the head three times.

Houston activist Quanell X was in court as well and was satisfied with the outcome after concerns over an all white jury hearing the case.

The victim was black while the defendant white.

Gregory Webb was relieved by the verdict.

“My reaction to the verdict was justice was served today. We got what we came for,” said Webb.

“Right is right, wrong is wrong and I think on the video it’s very clear that Corporal Kulow’s actions that day although probably were a snap decision out of anger were wrong and they crossed the line,” said Julie Renken, Washington County District Attorney.

Sentencing is scheduled for 10 A.M. on October 1.

Official oppression is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by one year in county jail, two years probation or also a $4,000 fine.

Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom during the trial.

*Press Release from Washington County District Attorney*
Christopher Gene Kulow, of Brenham, was convicted by a jury of Official Oppression, a Class A misdemeanor, Wednesday evening. Judge Carson Campbell presided over the trial in the 21st District Court. District Attorney Julie Renken and First Assistant Eric Berg represented the State at trial, and Greg Cagle represented the Defendant.

Kulow was indicted on October 10, 2013, for an offense from August 22, 2013. The charge resulted from an incident in the Washington County Jail, where the victim was being held on misdemeanor warrants. Then-deputy Kulow, assaulted the victim, who had been restrained after being disruptive in the jail. He was charged with pushing the victim over while in a restraint chair, and hitting the victim with his hand.

Official Oppression is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail. Typically misdemeanors are handled by the County Attorney, but District Attorney Julie Renken prosecuted this case, because, by law, a District Attorney has jurisdiction in cases involving a public servant.

The nature of the case brought an unusual amount of publicity to a misdemeanor trial, including the presence of Harris County activist, Quanell X. Asked about the publicity, Renken echoed her closing argument, “We can all agree that right is right and wrong is wrong,” and continued, “This is the type of case that should strengthen faith in the system.”

“The defendant was indicted, fired, and tried according to policy and law.” Renken said, “A police officer was just convicted of assaulting a victim. The verdict was the only result supported by the facts and evidence in this case.”

After the incident, Kulow was placed on administrative leave, and after the October indictment, Kulow was immediately terminated by Sheriff Otto Hanak. The case has remained on the District Court trial docket ever since.

Later Julie Renken spoke of the difficulty in prosecuting former law enforcement, “Of course we are sad to have to try [Kulow], I’ve worked with him for years. But that does not change the fact that he committed a reprehensible, and criminal, act. My job is to seek justice and speak for victims, in this trial both were accomplished.