A former New York officer who broke into a Black woman’s Tennessee home before threatening her family and shouting racial slurs has been ordered by a judge to pay her $1 million.
Michael J. Reynolds, the former patrol officer who resigned from the New York Police Department after facing national backlash for breaking into Conese Halliburton’s Nashville home, has been ordered by federal judge Eli Richardson to pay her $1 million.
Reynolds entered a no contest plea in September 2019 on charges that he broke into Halliburton’s home in July 2018 after a night of drinking in celebration of a friend’s bachelor party.
Reynolds kicked down the door of Halliburton’s home and threatened her and her four children.
“This is my motherf-cking house,” Reynolds shouted, according to Halliburton. Surveillance video shows Reynolds threatening the family, saying, “Try to shoot me, and I’ll break every f—ing bone in your f—ing neck.”
He also referred to Halliburton and her children as “fucking n—ers,” footage shows. Halliburton’s youngest children were 8 and 11 at the time.
Reynolds was staying in an Airbnb next door and allegedly mistook Halliburton’s home for the place where he was staying. The break-in lasted for eight minutes, until Reynolds left after finding out Nashville police were on their way.
Halliburton did not find out Reynolds was a police officer until the incident was over. She filed a $5 million suit against Reynolds in January 2020, accusing him of assault, trespassing and causing emotional distress. She said her two youngest children suffered nightmares after the break-in and wanted to move so that they were no longer in the home.
Halliburton claimed in the suit that she feared “her children would be murdered in front of her” and that “she would be subject to deadly force herself.”
Reynolds resigned in January after more than 10,000 people signed a petition calling for him to be fired.
The $1 million Reynolds must pay Halliburton is separate from the criminal charges he faces. He was convicted on charges of assault and criminal trespassing, and sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years of probation.
“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,” said Nashville attorney Daniel A. Horwitz, who represented Halliburton. “We are certainly pleased with this development, but we also aren’t finished here.”
Because Reynolds declared bankruptcy, Horwitz said it is not likely that Halliburton will collect the full award. A GoFundMe by Halliburton has raised almost $3,000.