In her cross-examination, Banks said the incident was her first time working an eviction and she had not been trained in how an eviction was meant to proceed.
Banks agreed with Dammann that Traylor-Harris had not instructed her to break any laws before the incident. But when asked if during the eviction was when he “decided to start his criminal empire with watches and makeup” Banks said “yes, sir.”
“We got what we wanted and left for the night,” Banks said. She testified Traylor-Harris took watches from the home.
Banks was later arrested for the theft and said she has not been made any promises in exchange for her testimony, but would like for it to be considered in the future and hopes something could be worked out for her.
When asked about the bodycam footage, Banks said that Traylor-Harris told her “take what you want” and made the unzip motion at her meaning to unzip her vest to take items.
Traylor-Harris shook his head at that statement.
Banks further testified she was forced to steal the items, and “would’ve been fired” had she said no to taking the items. Banks said she was asked a second time whether her bodycam was on after Traylor-Harris told her to take items, and she pushed her camera, mistakenly turning it on.
Banks can be seen picking up items of jewelry in the bodycam footage, when asked by Putman why she put certain items back but took others Banks said “I didn’t want them.”
Former Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks, whose bodycam footage is entered as evidence in the trial, has taken the stand as the State’s next witness.
Putman has begun Holeman’s bodycam footage from when constables first arrived at the home. Holeman can be heard saying “is it on?” Banks confirmed she was being asked if her body camera was on.
The state has called their next witness Brittany Poster’s daughter, Arianna, who was at the home at the time when Traylor-Harris, Banks and Holman arrived.
Arianna Poster said moments after she had come home the constables let themselves into the home, asked her to put her hands up with their guns pointed at her before removing items from the home.
She said she complied with their requests because she was 17-years-old at the time of the incident, and said she had no prior knowledge of the eviction before the constables arrived.
“I was a minor, what authority did I have?” she said.
Poster said in her cross-examination by lead defense attorney Andrew Dammann she suspected the officers who searched her home in the theft when she made her initial report to Tyler PD. Dammann said the investigation was suspended pending further cooperation from her.
Poster’s response was that the Tyler PD investigator called her “a scorned woman” and that she was blaming other people for her problems. She said after about three days of contact with Tyler PD, she asked them to stop “harassing” her.
Poster said that after her belongings were removed from the home, she went through the items and noticed things were missing, including a necklace given to her by her father and two wallets containing over $3,000 in cash.
Putman asked her if there were items missing from the home not featured on the bodycam footage, and she said yes. Poster said her kids noticed the missing items because many of them were Christmas gifts.
Poster then made a police report about the missing items, and said she felt that she was not taken seriously by Tyler Police. She said she was contacted several months later by the Texas Rangers and has received some of the items back since their investigation.
The court has taken a recess for lunch and plans to resume at 12:45 p.m.
After playing the bodycam footage, the court is now taking a 20 minute recess.
Poster said she was arrested for resisting arrest that day and has not been made any promises in exchange for her testimony.
The prosecution has begun playing Banks’ bodycam footage. As different items that were reported stolen come into frame, Poster is describing what they are and their value to the jury.
Banks can be heard on the footage saying there was cocaine, marijuana, paraphernalia and guns found in the home.
The state has now called Brittany Poster to the stand, who was renting the home searched by Traylor-Harris. DA Jacob Putman is questioning this witness for the prosecution.
Poster said she has lived in Smith County for 35 years. Poster said she knew the eviction was coming, but not the exact day, and that because of this her family had not begun packing.
Poster said she was surprised to hear that drugs were found in the home.
Sgt. Justin Hall with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office has taken the stand as the fist witness in this case.
Hall said he was asked by the Texas Rangers to assist them in carrying out a warrant by downloading and reviewing footage from their system’s server containing bodycam footage.
In the defense’s opening statement, one of Traylor-Harris’ defense attorneys said bodycam footage from the event does not show Traylor-Harris picking up any items, and that he was still a novice, at 26 days into his position as constable.
In their opening statement, prosecutors say that on his first month on the job, Traylor-Harris violated his oath and stole from a family that had fallen on hard times and had been evicted from their home.
“Him and cronies were treating these possessions like they were there’s,” the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor did say that drugs were found in the home, and that made them “easy targets” to Traylor-Harris, Banks and Holeman.
Banks is expected to take the stand against Traylor-Harris.
The trial begins about on time. The jury is made up of eight women and four men.
TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The jury trial for a former Smith County Precinct 1 Constable accused of theft is set to begin on Tuesday morning.
He was charged with official oppression and theft of property valued between $750 and $2500 by a public servant.
Former Constable Curtis Traylor-Harris was originally arrested in Nov. 2021 by the Texas Rangers. He was arrested a second time in May 2022 for violating his bond conditions.
The district attorney’s office released bodycam footage from the alleged incident where multiple items were reported stolen from a home a week after Traylor-Harris, Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks and Sergeant Derrick Holman were there to serve a writ of possession.
Among the items reported stolen were cash, jewelry, iPhones, watches and multiple other items.
Following his arrest, a Smith County resident sued to remove Traylor-Harris from his position, and argued he had violated his oath of office.
According to a bond violation report, Traylor-Harris was seen on a YouTube livestream on May 10 for the 2022 Police Academy Graduation for Navarro College. A supervisor with Smith County said they watched the video, which shows Traylor-Harris in full uniform and in possession of his weapon.
Traylor-Harris was out on bond since November. Conditions of his bond include an order that he cannot possess a firearm, explosive, ammunition or deadly weapon.
After the bond violation, Traylor-Harris’ bond was increased to a total of $1 million. His bond was later reduced, and he was released on a $40,000 bond.
This will be presiding Judge Jack Skeen’s last trial before retirement.