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Attorney: Resignation of NYPD cop in Nashville racist attack long overdue

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 19:31:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Nashville attorney said the decision for the officer caught in a racist tirade to resign from the New York Police Department was long overdue.

Amid weeks of backlash, Michael Reynolds resigned on the same day a disciplinary hearing on him was set to begin. Daniel Horwitz represents Conese Halliburton, a 12 South homeowner caught in the middle of Reynolds' attack in her own home while he was in Nashville for a bachelor trip in July 2018.

"This has been a long time coming," Horwitz told NewsChannel 5. "She's relieved we're finally here, but she's been waiting for this to happen for about a year-and-a-half."

Reynolds was staying at an Airbnb near her house with friends. He admitted he was drunk when he kicked in the door of her house and began yelling at her and her children. A Ring surveillance video next door captured part of the exchange and a Reynolds shouting, "Try to shoot me, I'll break every bone in your f(expletive) neck. You f(expletive) n(expletive)."

Reynolds pleaded no contest in September to charges of aggravated criminal trespassing and assault. The charges were reduced in a plea agreement. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years unsupervised probation.

"I understand that he has claimed this was an accident, but you can't accidentally kick in someone's door, you can't accidentally threaten to break their necks, and you can't accidentally hurl racial slurs," Horwitz added.

Halliburton has called on the NYPD to fire Reynolds since the incident. Despite his conviction and sentencing last month, Reynolds was still on the job on modified duty. Activists demanded the NYPD to fire Reynolds through an online petition that garnered 12,000 signatures and a rally on Wednesday.

Horwitz said his client is pleased that he resigned, but still questions why it took so long for any action to take place.

"It is a danger to a lot of people when police officers who lack impulse control and integrity are on the force," he said.

Horwitz is also keeping a close eye on the two other off-duty NYPD officers who were with Reynolds the morning after the incident. Horwitz said their actions toward the victim and witnesses deserving a termination. He said he's cooperating with

"The officers involved laughed off the incident and said that they could not be held accountable for it because they're officers from New York and had immunity, Horwitz claimed.

He says he's cooperating with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) and expects a full investigation. Only of the two other officers were identified in court as Thomas Geberth. Court transcripts showed Reynolds only remembered that Geberth spoke to the neighbors but not what he said.

In a statement, NYPD said Reynolds will no longer receive pension or health benefits, nor will he be allowed to carry a firearm.