Police officers were caught stealing from a Texas home during an eviction search. Three constables served an eviction notice and were tasked with evacuating the residents. However, with the accidental activation of a body camera, the officers were seen taking items from the property.
The activated body cam was on Chief Deputy Laquanda Banks, who was seen on the footage putting multiple items, which included jewellery and sunglasses, into her clothes as they searched different areas of the house. At the end of the search, officer Laquanda joked about gaining weight during that time and being hot and exhausted.
According to reports, the police stole items worth over $10,000. The home’s occupants reported numerous items missing, such as four watches, a partial box of .22 calibre ammunition, a box that might contain Apple AirPods, Oakley sunglasses, Rayban sunglasses, makeup, a safe containing vintage coins, military medals, a diploma, a birth certificate, a social security card, and more than $750 in cash.
The three Smith County officials (Smith County Precinct one Constable Curtis Traylor-Harris, Smith County Precinct one Chief Deputy Laquanda Banks, and Smith County Precinct one Sergent Derek Holman) was arrested last November and charged with abuse of official capacity, official oppression, and property theft.
The constables, whose peace officer licenses were suspended, were released from jail after posting bonds totalling $30,000 following their arrests. An additional report says that the officers turned on each other when they appeared in court. Banks told the courtroom that she felt “cohorts to steal” in her testimony against Traylor-Harris.
Traylor-Harris, who testified that he was aware of the body cam being on, also stated that there was a political agenda between county leaders and the district attorney to suspend him from his position. He was found guilty on all charges, and the other two constables are awaiting trial.
Stealing by a public sector employee is a serious offence, classified as a third-degree felony. The maximum penalty for this crime is a $10,000 fine and a jail sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years. Additionally, if found guilty of official oppression, an individual could face a maximum fine of $4,000 and/or up to one year in county jail, as outlined in the Texas Penal Code.
Watch the videos of the incident below: