A white Texas man who was caught on video hanging a baby doll with a noose around its neck outside of a apartment where a black family lives has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime.
Glenn Halfin, 62, admitted to a misdemeanor “federal charge of interfering with an African-American family’s housing rights,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas said July 12 in a press release. Halfin was arrested on state charges in December 2017 accusing him of stalking his neighbors, a black family that moved into his apartment complex in Grapevine, Texas, in June, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“According to court documents, Halfin threatened force, intimidated, and interfered with a family because of their race and occupancy of an apartment that was located directly above his own apartment,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in the press release. The case was investigated by local police in Grapevine, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, federal prosecutors in Texas’ Northern District and attorneys from the Washington D.C.-based Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.
Police said the “racially-charged incidents” happened between October 4, 2017, and December 19, 2017, at the Colonial Village at Grapevine apartment complex. The incidents included “a noose thrown onto their balcony and two instances where dolls were left with ropes around the necks, depicting being hanged,” according to court documents obtained by WFAA-TV. Halfin and his attorney, a federal public defender, could not be reached for comment.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Victim Says the ‘Old White Man’ Began ‘Terrorizing’ Him When His Family Moved Into the Apartment in June & Says the Hanging Doll Was a Threat to His Daughter
In January 2018, the victim posted on Facebook that his family had been harassed by Glenn Halfin, a neighbor in their apartment complex, since they moved into their apartment in June 2017. His Facebook post came after the Grapevine Police Department arrested Halfin on charges of stalking the victim, a his girlfriend and his infant daughter.
He said, “this old white man,” that lives in the apartment under him, “has been terrorizing me and my daughter for 6 months every damn night because the color of our skin. It started off by throwing eggs and dog sh*t on my car.” The victim said he filed a police report, but officers told him they couldn’t do anything without proof. “So this old man decided to step the sh*t up to a hate crime by hanging (a) noose on my balcony and around (a) black baby doll’s neck,” the victim wrote on Facebook.
He said, “thank God I put a camera up outside my (apartment).” He said the black baby doll hanging outside of his apartment was a threat to his daughter. The victim thanked the police and the FBI for getting involved and arresting Halfin.
“I just wanna show people that racism is very well ALIVE AND REAL,” the victim wrote. “Please stay awake out here!”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, Halfin bought the baby doll on December 19, 2017, at a Walmart in Grapevine, Texas.
“He took a rope, fashioned it into a noose, and hung the baby doll from the noose. Halfin then hung the rope noose and baby doll on the railing directly in front of the only staircase the family could use to access their apartment,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in the press release. “Halfin did so, knowing that this display would be particularly intimidating for the family who had a young daughter. In addition, the defendant referenced in his factual basis repeated intimidation of and interference with the same African-American family on other occasions.”
According to KTVT-TV, the Grapevine Police Department investigator assigned to the case recommended that Halfin be charged with a hate crime enhancement on the state charge he was arrested on in December 2017. Detective Joseph Moeller had recently completed hate crime training when he got the Halfin case. He also forwarded information on to the FBI, because he thought it could be a federal offense.
Moeller said he looked for stores that sold dolls like the one found hanging outside of the victims’ apartment, and that led him to the Walmart. He then reviewed purchase history along with video from the store and the surveillance video the victims’ recorded to arrest Halfin, who was known at the apartment complex for making racist remarks, according to court documents obtained by WFAA-TV.
2. The U.S. Attorney Says Halfin Harassed the Family Because They Are Black, Saying ‘No One Should Be Afraid to Go Home at Night’
Federal authorities say the victims were targeted because they are black, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
“No one should be afraid to go home at night,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said in a statement. “Our community will not tolerate crimes of intimidation or bigotry, and my office will continue to prosecute all those who persecute others based on their race, color, ethnicity, or religious beliefs.”
Acting Assistant Attorney John Gore, of the Department of Justice’s D.C.-based Civil Rights Division, said in a statement, “The Justice Department will not tolerate acts of intimidation and fear, or illegal threats against any individual or family because of their race. We will continue to prosecute hate crime offenders.”
Amanda McNew, a spokesperson for the Grapevine Police Department, told KTVT-TV, “These were definitely acts of harassment that could not be ignored. They were on their cars, this was on the railing that they had to access to get to their apartment.” McNew said as Detective Joseph Moeller was preparing warrants for Halfin’s arrest, “he contacted the FBI on his own and said ‘hey, I just took this class from you and all of these elements of our investigation meet the criteria (for a hate crime), do you want this case? It’s yours.”
3. Halfin, Who Worked for The Woodlands Fire Department & Montgomery County as an Arson Investigator, Says He Worked in Security at ExxonMobil’s Headquarters in Irving
Glenn Halfin is a former firefighter and paramedic who worked for The Woodlands Fire Department and the City of Liberty Fire & EMS Department, according to his Facebook profile, which includes several photos from his days as a firefighter. In January 2001, Halfin was recognized for 15 years of service with The Woodlands Fire Department, according to a Houston Chronicle report from the time.
Halfin also worked as a part-time arson investigators in Montgomery County, Texas, according to public records. He left that position in 2008, according to minutes from a Montgomery County Commissioners’ meeting.
Haflin also says on his Facebook page that he works in “safety and security” at ExxonMobil’s headquarters in Irving, Texas. Halfin says on Facebook that he is single, but he lists a daughter, grandson and granddaughter as family members. He says his nickname is “Poxy,” and writes in the quotes section of his profile, “An ounce of preventing — Is worth a pound of cure !!!”
One of Halfin’s photos, posted in May 2017, shows a picture of Hallmark greeting card featuring a young boy facing the corner of the wall during a punishment with the quote, “It was totally worth it.”
4. Police Say He Had a Confederate Flag in His Apartment, a History of Making Racist Comments & Records Show He Was Evicted Following His Arrest
Halfin was known in the apartment complex for making racist comments, KTVT-TV reports. One man, who was not a member of the family victimized by Halfin, told the news station he was afraid to go outside with his son because of Halfin. And apartment management said Halfin had made comments about the ethnicities off staff members.
Police said they found rope, a Walmart gift card and a Confederate flag in Halfin’s apartment, the news station reports.
Colonial Village at Grapevine, the apartment complex where Halfin lived, filed to have Halfin evicted in December 2017 after his arrest, Tarrant County court records show. He did not appear in court and was evicted by default on January 11, 2018.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Halfin moved to a new apartment complex in Grapevine after his eviction.
Halfin is originally from Liberty, Texas, where he graduated from Liberty High School in 1972, according to his Facebook page. He later studied fire science at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, from 1983 to 1987. He also lived in The Woodlands and Devers, Texas. Halfin was convicted of driving under the influence in 1985, records show.
His Facebook page reveals few details about him, but he does “like” several pages related to President Donald Trump and other Republican politicians along with conservative groups and members of the conservative media, including some on the far right. Among the pages he likes are “Blue Lives Matter,” “Taking Back America,” “Survivalist Tips,” “God Family Country,” “America’s Conservative Voice,” “Conservatives Against a Liberal Agenda,” “Southern Culture on the Rise” (a group that features a Confederate flag logo), the NRA, “Free Lives Matter” (a “free speech advocacy group that features a graphic of the Statue of Liberty holding an AR-15), Sheriff David Clarke, Milo Yiannopoulos, Allan West, “Vets Before Illegals,” Infowars and “Trump 2020.”
5. Halfin Faces Up to 1 Year in Prison on the Federal Conviction & the State Felony Charge That Carries Up to 10 Years in Prison Is Still Pending
Glenn Eugene Halfin faces up to 1 year in federal prison and a fine of up to $100,000 when he is sentenced on the misdemeanor charge of interference with the right to fair housing, according to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
A state stalking charge is still pending. That charge is a third-degree felony in Texas, which carries a potential sentence of 2 to 12 years in prison. The Grapevine Police Department recommended an additional hate crime enhancement be added to the charge, according to the Dallas Morning News. Prosecutors in Tarrant County have not commented about whether they will seek that enhancement, the newspaper reports.
The James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act was passed in Texas in 2001 and is named for a black man from East Texas who was lynched by three white men in 1998, the newspaper reports. ProPublica found that from 2010 to 2015 there have only been five convictions under the state law in Texas out of 981 cases reported as potential hate crimes.
Prior to his guilty plea, Halfin had denied any involvement in the incidents at his apartment complex, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Halfin was released on $10,000 bail on his state arrest. A sentencing date on the federal conviction has not yet been set and it is not clear when Halfin is ue back in court on the state charge.