SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Curtis Traylor-Harris and two high-ranking deputies were indicted on Thursday for felony theft by a public servant and a misdemeanor of official oppression, according to Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman.
Precinct 1 Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks and Pct. 1 Sgt. Derrick Holman were charged along with Harris.
Harris, Banks and Holman were arrested in November 2021 for allegedly stealing from a Tyler residence while they were working. They were previously charged with theft, official oppression and abuse of official capacity.
The tenant whose items were allegedly stolen by the three filed a theft report with the Tyler Police and the list of the things missing from the residence were an iPhone 8, Oakley sunglasses, jewelry, Chanel perfume, an iPhone X, Nike shoes, Airpods, 2 iPhone 12s, 2 MacBooks and more than $3,000 in cash. It was also mentioned that firearms were taken by the constable’s office but were later returned.
Those who are convicted with theft by a public servant will receive a third-degree felony. They could get a fine not greater than $10,000 and be sentenced between two to 10 years in prison.
Official oppression is a class a misdemeanor, and the punishment for this offense can be a fine of no more than $4,000 and/or up to one year in a county jail.
LaQuenda Banks, 42, of Tyler was terminated from her position as chief deputy on Dec. 3, according to Smith County Human Resources.
According to a representative from Texas Commission of Law Enforcement, all three officers’ law enforcement licenses have been suspended. The termination letter for Banks was signed by Constable Curtis Harris on Dec. 3.
In November, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Smith County District Attorney’s office requested help from Rangers into “possible criminal conduct of several officers with the Smith County Precinct #1 Constable Office.”
Harris, Banks and Holman posted $30,000 bonds and have been released from the Smith County Jail.
This is not the first time a Smith County constable’s office has been in legal trouble.
In September, former Pct. 2 Constable Joshua Black was convicted of official oppression for offering illegal sexual favors instead of monetary payment for a supervised visit business he was running.
A jury convicted Black after two hours of deliberation and sentenced him to six months in prison.