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Calls increase for NYPD officer convicted of racist attack to be fired

Posted: 6:54 PM, Jan 01, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-02 07:57:27-05

LOWER MANHATTAN — Calls are mounting and getting louder for the NYPD to fire an officer who's been convicted of terrorizing a family in a racist attack.

Activists are also calling for the dismissal of two other NYPD officers who allegedly tried to prevent the arrest of the officer who'd carried out the crime.

It took place in July 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. At 2:30 a.m., NYPD Officer Michael Reynolds kicked in the door of a home that was steps away from the AirBnB where he was staying at the time.

A security camera at the home next door captured the racist and profanity-laced language that Reynolds used as he burst into the home and threatened Conese Halliburton and her four sons.

"Try to shoot me, and I'll break every f---ing bone in your f---ing neck," Reynolds yelled. He also called the family "f---ing n--gers."

Reynolds is white. Halliburton and her family are black.

Officer Reynolds pleaded no contest this past September to charges of aggravated criminal trespassing and assault. The charges were reduced in a plea agreement that Reynolds had apparently thought might allow him to keep his job with the NYPD.

However, on Wednesday, a group of about 30 protesting activists stood outside of police headquarters here to send a strong message, they said, about Reynolds's chances of remaining on the force.

"Our role is to ask," said activist Kirsten John Foy at the afternoon rally, "why Michael Reynolds is still employed as a New York City police officer."

Reynolds, 26, was sentenced last month to 15 days in jail and three years probation for home invasion.

"When you do something like that," victim Conese Halliburton said last fall at Reynolds's sentencing, "and you can go to another state, and you can commit a crime, and you're a police officer, what are you doing in New York?"

The NYPD told PIX11 News that Reynolds is on modified duty, that the disciplinary process is moving forword, and that questioning in his case is imminent.

For a growing number of people, however, that's not good enough. A petition circulating online has nearly 12,000 signatures from people calling for Reynolds to be removed post haste.

"There are also disciplinary things that can be done immediately," New York City Public Advocate Jumanne Williams told PIX11 News, after Wednesday's news conference, "like 30 days' suspension with no pay."

The crimes took place in the home, which is close to the AirBnB where Reynolds was staying for an NYPD friend's bachelor party weekend. That friend is identified by the victim's attorney and in other records as NYPD Officer Thomas Geberth. Records also indicate that Geberth and another NYPD officer tried to convince Nashville police to not arrest Reynolds because he's in law enforcement.

"They have no business on the force either," Foy said at the rally.

He and other activists called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Dermot Shea, the new police commissioner, to handle the situation as thoroughly and quickly as they're trying to rein in street crimes, organizers said.

"Will you also be tough on crime on the boys in blue who are working for you?" asked activist Tamika Mallory. "What kind of example will you set, Commissioner Shea?"

The NYPD made no statement regarding any disciplinary action against Officer Geberth or the other NYPD officer who'd been in Nashville with Reynolds.