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Trial of Smith County deputy constable accused of theft, abuse of power set for October

Holman, Smith County Pct. 1 Constable Curtis Traylor-Harris and former Pct. 1 Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks are charged with theft and official oppression.
Credit: Smith County Jail Records

TYLER, Texas — A Smith County deputy constable accused of stealing from a residence and abusing his power while serving an eviction notice last year will go to trial in October.

During a Thursday hearing, the prosecution suggested a late October date for the trial of Pct. 1 Sgt. Derrick Holman, who is among three officials accused of stealing from a Tyler resident who was getting evicted.

Judge Jack Skeen Jr. of the 241st District Court then set the trial date for Oct. 24. 

Holman, Smith County Pct. 1 Constable Curtis Traylor-Harris and former Pct. 1 Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks were arrested in November 2021 on the charges of abuse of official capacity, official oppression and property theft. 

An arrest affidavit details body camera footage of Traylor-Harris, Banks and Holman rummaging through a Tyler residence in late January last year while the occupant, who was receiving an eviction notice, was away.

The resident in February 2021 reported several items missing, including four watches, a partial box of .22 caliber ammunition, a box that could contain Apple AirPods, Oakley sunglasses, Ray-Ban sunglasses, makeup and a safe containing antique coins, a quarter collection, military medals, a diploma, a birth certificate and a social security card. More than $750 in cash was also reported missing, the affidavit stated.

In June, Holman was arrested and released the same day on bonds totaling $30,000. He is charged with official oppression and property theft between $750 and $2,500.

Last December, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement suspended all three of their peace officer licenses. Because of the suspension, Banks and Holman cannot work or have authority as peace officers. 

According to TCOLE, Traylor-Harris cannot be removed from office through the commission because that would have to be done at the county level.

In addition to criminal charges, a citizen has filed a lawsuit in the 114th District Court seeking to remove Traylor-Harris from office.

The Texas Government Code states this petition is one of two ways that an elected official can be removed from their role, while the other method requires the official to be criminally convicted.

Lester Melontree's lawsuit notes Traylor-Harris, Banks and Holman's criminal charges and Traylor-Harris' multiple bond violations. He writes that Traylor-Harris' actions amount to "gross carelessness." 

In May, Traylor-Harris had his request for a bond reduction denied after a judge found that he violated certain conditions on several occasions. Judge Jack Skeen Jr. then set his bond at $1 million during a court hearing. 

RELATED: Smith County constable accused of theft arrested again for violating bond

RELATED: Smith County constable denied bond reduction amid lawsuit seeking to remove him from office

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