Posted on January 3, 2020

Officer Who Admitted Making Racist Threat Quits After an Uproar

Ed Shanahan, The New York Times, December 31, 2019

Michael J. Reynolds, a New York City police officer, landed in Nashville on a Sunday morning in July 2018, court records show. He and six other men, two of whom he later identified as New York City officers, were on what was supposed to be a three-night bachelor-party junket.

About 18 hours later, Officer Reynolds, who is white, kicked in a black woman’s door in a drunken rage, threatening her and her sons with a racist slur and obscenities.

“I’ll break every bone in your neck,” he said in a rant that included two expletives. He then fled to his nearby Airbnb rental just before the police arrived.

Last month, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years’ probation after pleading no contest to four misdemeanors as a result of the episode, court records show.

For weeks after the sentencing, though, he remained an officer, stirring a backlash against the New York Police Department. More than 10,000 people signed an online petition demanding his dismissal and supporting the woman whose home he invaded, Conese Halliburton.

“Michael Reynolds is a violent and dangerous racist who has no business carrying either a badge or a gun,” her lawyer, Daniel Horwitz, said via email. “Ms. Halliburton wants the N.Y.P.D. to fire him immediately so that he can’t hurt anyone else.”

The Police Department said last week that Officer Reynolds was on “modified duty” and that the disciplinary process was awaiting the Nashville case’s conclusion. Asked about the matter again on Monday, a top department official said the process “was moving forward and questioning will take place imminently.”

On Thursday, the Police Department said Officer Reynolds had quit the department effective immediately.

“He will receive no pension or health benefits, nor will he be allowed to carry a firearm,” said Devora Kaye, the acting deputy commissioner for public information. “His actions are wholly inconsistent with the values and standards the New York City Police Department expects and demands of its officers.”

Officer Reynolds, 26, had apologized in court for the episode and claimed that he had no memory of it because he had been drinking heavily.

“I’m sorry,” he testified. “I made a mistake. I consumed too much alcohol.”


Officer Reynolds’s crimes did not occur in the line of duty, nor did he cause physical injuries. But Ms. Halliburton testified that he had done significant psychological damage.

“My kids want to move,” she said at the sentencing on Dec. 6.


The episode, some of which, including audio of Officer Reynolds’s ranting, was captured by a neighbor’s security cameras, began shortly after 2:30 a.m. on July 9, 2018.


After being charged with aggravated burglary and assault, he pleaded no contest in September to aggravated criminal trespassing and three counts of assault. He is to report to jail on Jan. 15 if he does not appeal his sentence before then.

In arguing that Officer Reynolds, a five-year Police Department veteran previously assigned to the 33rd Precinct in Upper Manhattan, deserved jail time, Brian Ewald, the prosecutor, said Officer Reynolds and his friends had tried to “bully their way through this or out of this.”

“Keep quiet, don’t tell anybody a thing and we’ll get out of this,” Mr. Ewald said in describing the men’s attitude. “You know, we went, we cut up in another city, what happens in Nashville stays in Nashville, let’s get out of town early and live our lives.”