Black Tennessee Mom Awarded $1 Million Settlement After Ex Cop Broke Into Her Home And Threatened Her Family
The woman says she doubts she will receive the settlement because the officer recently declared bankruptcy.
December 17, 2019 at 6:56 pm
Update (October 27, 2020): A Tennessee woman has won a federal lawsuit against a former NYPD officer who was convicted for breaking into her home and threatening to kill her and her children while shouting slurs at them, according to The Tennessean.
Federal court judge Eli Richardson sided with Conese Halliburton and awarded her $1 million in a lawsuit filed by the mother in January.
Halliburton was in her Nashville home with her children in July 2018 when former officer Michael J. Reynolds broke down her door in a drunken stupor.
"Try to shoot me, and I'll break every f**king bone in your f**king neck," Reynolds shouted at the family before he yelled "f**king n****r," multiple times as he left.
"LIVING WHILE BLACK" — Meet, #MichaelJReynolds, an Ex-#NYPD Officer. This Man Terrorized a Black Family by Breaking Into Their #AirBnB Lodging, and Calling Them the N-word (Racial Slur).#LIVINGWHILEBLACK#ConeseHalliburton#MichaelReynolds
— #WhileBlack (@_While_Black) August 22, 2020
Reynolds was with two other NYPD officers for a bachelor party and had rented the house next to Halliburton’s. The night of the incident, he said he mistakenly went to Halliburton’s door instead of the Airbnb they had rented.
When the officers were approached the next day, they scoffed at Halliburton and told her it was an accident. They also implied that as police officers, they would not be held accountable for their actions. Reynolds eventually pleaded guilty to assault and aggravated criminal trespassing.
Despite video of the horrifying incident, Reynolds was only forced to spend 15 days in jail and given three years probation, according to Fox17.
"Ms. Halliburton promised from the beginning that she would hold ex-Officer Reynolds fully accountable for his criminal misconduct and obtain justice for her family regarding this despicable incident. We are certainly pleased with this development, but we also aren't finished here," Halliburton’s attorney, Daniel Horwitz, told The Tennessean.
She started a GoFundMe campaign this year to help her family recover from the terrifying incident.
Halliburton has admitted that it is unlikely she will ever receive the $1 million because Reynolds has declared bankruptcy. He resigned from the police department after video of the incident circulated online and he faced significant backlash in New York, WKRN reported.
“He will receive no pension or health benefits, nor will he be allowed to carry a firearm,” NYPD spokesperson Devora Kaye said in January.
In addition to the lawsuit against Reynolds, Halliburton wants the other officers involved in the incident to face punishment and has filed a complaint with the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board, according to WKRN.
Original (December 18, 2019): A white NYPD officer received a slap on the wrist and pinch to the arm for breaking into a Black family's home and terrorizing them.
Michael J. Reynolds was in Nashville, Tennessee, back in July 2018 for a friend's bachelor trip when he was enjoying himself way too much. Things took a turn for the worst when he indeed indulged more than he should have during a night out. After returning back to their Airbnb, Reynolds broke into Consese Halliburton's home with her four sons.
The Tennessean reports Reynolds kicked the door in and started charging toward Halliburton.
"He kept coming down the hall. Nothing was holding him back," she said. "He was like, 'This is my motherf**king house.'"
Surveillance video from a neighbor showed the 26-year-old threatening the family and calling them racial slurs, according to The Innersane.
"Try to shoot me, and I'll break every f**king bone in your f**king neck," Reynolds can be heard saying in the video.
The video also showed him calling the family "f**king n****rs."
The mom of four told Reynolds that police were on the way before he left out the house. She said the total incident lasted about eight minutes.
During Reynolds' sentencing hearing on December 6, he admitted to drinking too much and blacking out. He said the only thing he remembered from the night was talking to police and identifying himself as an NYPD officer. He testified that he learned about most of the incident the next day from his friends, according to the Tennessean.
Reynolds recalled his friends telling him they returned from the bar and thought he went inside their Airbnb.
Upon officers arriving, Halliburton gave the police a description, however, Reynolds wasn't arrested after being questioned for his involvement.
Halliburton confronted Reynolds and his friends the next day. She said they laughed at her and acted as if it was "no big deal," according to testimony during the hearing.
"We are police from New York. You don't need to make a big deal about it. We were just drinking," Reynolds' best friend, Thomas Geberth, said.
Halliburton's neighbor Justin Roddick also confronted the group after the break-in, staring at them from afar.
"What are you looking at?" Roddick said Geberth asked him.
"I think I'm looking at who broke into my neighbor's house last night," Roddick responded.
Reynolds said he apologizes during the hearing despite Halliburton saying at the time of the incident, "He said he was sorry with a smile on his face."
He was charged with assault and aggravated burglary. He was sentenced to only two weeks in prison and three years probation. He said he was also suspended from his job for 30 days.