A New York City policeman charged after breaking into the Tennessee home next door to his Airbnb and threatening the family inside is headed to jail.
Michael J. Reynolds was sentenced to just two weeks in jail and three years’ probation for the July 2018 break-in, according to court transcripts obtained by Atlanta Black Star. Reynolds, a patrol officer in Manhattan, faced charges of assault and aggravated criminal trespass after terrorizing victim Conese Halliburton and her sons in their Nashville home.
He pleaded no contest to the charges earlier this year.
Halliburton, along with two witnesses, took the stand at the Dec. 6, hearing and recalled the events of that night. The mom of four said she was at home with her sons when Reynolds, 26, who was in town for a bachelor party and staying with friends at an Airbnb, kicked down her door in a drunken rage.
The incident unfolded in the early hours of July 9, 2018, when Halliburton, in bed with her youngest child at the time, heard shouting outside her home. She asked one of her older sons to peek out of the window and check it out.
“I could hear, like, someone yelling, and it was like really loud, and it was close,” she told the court. “I was like, something doesn’t sound right.”
By that time, Halliburton was dialing police after her son spotted Reynolds in their front yard and his shouts continued to grow louder.
“It was just like, loud yelling, just like really loud,” she added, saying she couldn’t make out what the suspect was saying. “And while I was on the phone with the [911 operator], you know how it sounds like a knock — when someone is knocking at your door. It was like vibrations, like really loud. It was like boom, boom, boom.”
Reynolds would eventually burst through the front door. Halliburton said even as her dogs tried biting the intruder, he fought them off and continued making his way into her home and down the hall.
“He’s like this is my motherf—–g house, this is my motherf—–g house,” she recalled Reynold’s yelling.
Part of the attack was captured by a neighbor’s Nest security system, on which a male voice is heard threatening the family: “Try to shoot me, I’ll break every bone in your f—–g neck. You f—–g n—-r.”
Halliburton said, at one point, her 20- and 17-year-old two elder sons placed themselves in between herself and Reynolds, who refused to leave until the family warned that police were on their way.
Authorities would interview the officer later that night but did not arrest him. It wasn’t until days later that Metro Nashville police got involved and began investigating. By then, Halliburton had already confronted Reynolds and his friends over the incident.
Neighbor Joetta Alderson was there when Hallibuton approached the cop and the six or seven others he was sharing the Airbnb with. She said Reynolds expressed remorse over the incident, but his other buddies didn’t think it was a big deal.
“The one that did a whole lot of talking, it’s like he kept trying to incite some type of altercation between us and them,” Alderson testified, referring to Reynolds best friend and mouthpiece of the group Thomas Geberth. He suggested, “that if the police [were] called, it’s not going to be a big issue because they were policemen from New York.”
“It made it seem like there was no justice to me,” she added. “What had happened to [Halliburton] could happen to anybody. But as long as they were policemen, then it was OK.”
Justin Roddick, another neighbor who testified, recalled Reynold’s apology but said it was insincere.
“He was laughing,” Roddick said, describing how the group brushed off a visibly upset Hallibuton. “That’s not an ‘I’m sorry, ma’am.”
Reynolds later took the stand and continued to express remorse over the incident. He said he was decommissioned and suspended from his job for 30 days, though he remains employed by the NPYD.
His lax sentencing drew outrage online and sparked calls for the department to fire him outright.
“This guy should be thrown off the force and put in damned prison for what he did. His ‘jail time’ is a joke,” one Twitter user wrote.
Reynolds has 30 days to report to the Metro jail to begin his sentence.