Video Of Alleged Theft By Smith County TX Constables Released
We've been following the continued fallout from the arrests and indictments of a Smith County Constable and his deputies after they were accused of theft while serving a warrant at a residence last year.
The case of a Smith County Constable who is currently locked up in the Gregg County Jail and two of his deputies on alleged theft charges had some interesting developments this week as the Constable has been temporarily removed from office and the Smith County DA made the video of the alleged crime public. Here's the latest:
In June, a Smith County resident filed a lawsuit to remove Traylor-Harris from office.
According to KLTV, Curtis Traylor-Harris was served a civil lawsuit from a Smith County resident seeking his removal from office amid allegations Traylor-Harris and his deputies abused their authority and engaged in theft at a residence where they were serving eviction papers in November 2021. According to state law, the process of removing an elected official from office must begin with a petition being filed by a private citizen in the district court where the officer resides, or where the alleged cause of removal occurred.
At A Hearing On Thursday, A Judge Temporarily Suspended Traylor-Harris as Smith County Pct. 1 constable.
After a hearing where a Texas Ranger investigator testified and presented the video of the alleged theft, visiting Judge David Brabham said he found the state’s allegations to be true. Ralph Caraway Jr. (pictured above at his swearing in) was appointed as interim. His name was among three on a list submitted by Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran and county commissioners. Caraway is currently an investigator with the district attorney’s office.
On Friday, The Smith County District Attorney Released The Video Of The Alleged Theft.
According to KETK, (who posted the video above to their YouTube Channel, edited for brevity) the video comes from Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks’s bodycam from the January 2021 incident and was used as evidence in the civil suit. Christopher Baggett, a Texas Ranger and lead investigator on the public corruption case, said the footage provides evidence of organized theft as it shows the constables are searching the house instead of just clearing as they should have and that none of the items taken were ever inventoried.
Items allegedly stolen include watches, sunglasses and ammunition.
The footage shows Traylor-Harris holding boxes before giving them to Banks, who then put them in the vehicle of Deputy Constable Derrick Holman, who also is under indictment. Baggett said Banks admitted Traylor-Harris instructed them to take those items from the residence before they picked through them back at the constable’s office. While some of the items were eventually returned to the victim after the investigation started, Baggett said one of the allegedly stolen watches was seen on Banks’ wrist during a call.
What's Next For The Trio?
Banks will be back in court on Aug. 23 for a plea hearing, while Traylor-Harris will be back in court on July 14 for a plea docket agreement. Holman has a jury trial scheduled for Oct. 24.