About two dozen protesters rallied at NYPD headquarters New Year’s Day, calling for the termination of Officer Michael Reynolds, a 26-year-old cop who admitted to a booze-fueled home invasion, in which he mistakenly burst into an African American woman’s house and threatened her family.
The incident took place in July of 2018, as Reynolds and two other NYPD cops were attending a bachelor party in Nashville, Tennessee. But it was just last month that Reynolds pleaded no contest to trespass and assault charges, admitting in court that he terrorized homeowner Conese Halliburton, who alleged that he used the N-word during the violent break-in.
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"Hate crime or not there was a crime that occurred, and we could all agree on this: that crime should mean that you are no longer a member of the NYPD,” said Jumaane Williams, the New York City Public Advocate, who attended the protest.
At Reynolds’s sentencing hearing, an attorney asked, “if you did use that type of word or that word — the specific word that was referred to, what do you say to [Ms. Halliburton] and this Court about that?”
According to the court transcript, Reynolds replied, “I'm absolutely sorry I said that word. I'm very remorseful. It's cost me my job, my life, everything.”
According to Reynolds’ own account of the evening, he became so drunk after partying in the city’s bar district, he thought the victim’s home was the short-term rental house he’d been sharing down the block.
A neighbor’s security camera captured audio of Reynolds threatening the victim, saying, “I’ll [expletive] break every bone in your [expletive] neck.” A few seconds later, the recording seems to capture him using the N-word.
Halliburton’s attorney, Daniel Horwitz, suggested she intends to file a complaint with New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.
“Michael Reynolds is a violent and dangerous racist who has no business carrying either a badge or a gun. Ms. Halliburton wants the NYPD to fire him immediately so that he can't hurt anyone else,” Horwitz said. “The NYPD needs to hold Officer Reynolds fully accountable for his violent, racist crimes against Ms. Halliburton and her family.”
Representatives for Officer Reynolds did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC New York. After the initial incident in 2018 he was suspended and put on modified duty.
The NYPD made no formal statement responding to criticism from the protesters, except to say now that the criminal case against Reynolds is resolved in Tennessee, the disciplinary process is moving ahead with questioning of those involved set to begin imminently.
Protesters are also calling for the other two officers at the bachelor party to be fired after a neighbor testified the group of officers tried to influence the complaint process by suggesting their law enforcement status would give them immunity in Tennessee.
“It is my considered opinion that Mayor de Blasio has become the biggest threat to his own police department,” said Rev. Johnny Green, of the social justice group “Impact.”
"Because his inactions on this matter, I think, put good police officers at risk," Green added.