East Texas officials react after Smith County Constable arrest

Crime & Public Safety
Project-Roadblock

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – East Texas officials spoke out after Precinct 1 Constable Curtis Harris, Chief Deputy Laquenda Banks and Sergeant Derrick Holman were charged with theft, abuse of official capacity and official oppression.

According to warrants obtained by KETK news, back in January, constable Harris and two deputies were at a rental property at the cascades when their body cams caught them stealing from the residence.

“We are in complete awe,” said Hector Garza, the Deputy Chair for the Smith County Democratic Party. “We are just totally shocked at the news that we’ve been hearing over the last 24 hours.”

Community members were upset after warrants revealed that Pct. 1 Constable Curtis Harris and the deputies reportedly stole from a Cascades residence while on the job.

Body cameras recorded a conversation between Banks and Constable Harris when they thought the cameras were off. That’s when they allegedly started searching for items they could steal.

“I think part of the problem was that because of the situation, someone was put in a leadership role who really wasn’t prepared or trained for that position,” said Dr. Nancy Nichols, State Democratic Committeewoman. “So this is an opportunity to get our constables back again.”

According to the warrant, more than $3,000, two laptops and two iPhones were taken.

Some East Texan’s were frustrated that the constable has yet to be replaced, but doing so is not an easy process.

“What we want to see is Judge Moran and the Commissioner’s Court appoint Sergeant Willie Mims to the interim Constable 1, Precinct 1 Constable position until the next election is held,” Garza said.

According to the warrant, other items were taken that were not accounted for and were not calculated in the evaluation. The theft charge is a state felony that carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

“We have better law enforcement than this,” Garza mentioned, “I continue to urge the people to continue trusting law enforcement. Just because we have one bad apple in the bunch, doesn’t mean that law enforcement represents this. We do have some very good law enforcement officers.”

All three of the accused have since been released on pre-trial bonds.

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