Karen Read

Proctor's conduct in Karen Read case may betray his training, exclusive documents show

The NBC10 Boston Investigators obtained documents revealing more about Trooper Michael Proctor's training, which included topics like "fair and impartial policing” and smartphone forensics

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Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor was the lead investigator in the high-profile Karen Read murder trial and has been in the spotlight for his conduct and his handling of this high-profile case. 

The conduct revealed during Proctor's testimony in the trial is another stain on the Massachusetts State Police and there could be serious implications for Proctor himself.  Proctor took an oath back in 2014 and now, 10 years later, experts say his actions and admissions in this case may have betrayed the badge.



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When Proctor took the witness stand, he read some of the vulgar texts he sent from his private cell phone to family, friends and fellow troopers about Karen Read, the woman accused of killing her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe. Read's defense has maintained she is being framed as part of a large-scale coverup and has pointed to Proctor as a key factor.

Proctor was a member of the Massachusetts SP’s 81st Recruitment Training Troop-graduating in 2014. State Police records obtained by the NBC10 Boston Investigators show that he completed thousands of hours of training throughout the years including skills like smartphone forensics, fair and impartial policing, investigative techniques and crime scene.  Since joining the Norfolk County District Attorney’s detective unit in 2019, Proctor has completed additional training on digital cellphone forensics and homicide investigations.  

Boston defense attorney Doug Louison has represented law enforcement in criminal and civil cases across the state for decades. When asked about Proctor’s controversial texts, Louison told us he thought any rational person, trained or not, would know that sending those texts was inappropriate behavior.  

“The fact that he was the lead investigator and felt so unrestrained in his language shows a stunning lack of judgment and it shows a lack of supervision. The lack of someone jumping in and saying this is inappropriate and that trickles back to the first night he showed up on that scene. As soon as he became aware of who was involved as witnesses he should’ve stepped back and said I can’t take this case," Louison said.

Cross-examination of Michael Proctor, who led the investigation into John O'Keefe's death and acknowledged texting his sister that he hoped Karen Read would "kill herself," wrapped up Wednesday.

Testimony has also shown that Proctor was familiar with some of the key witnesses in the case.

Several investigations have been launched into the handling of the Read case. Multiple sources tell us an ongoing federal investigation opened the door to Proctor’s personal texts. They also tell us the state’s Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission which certifies police officers is monitoring the case and an internal investigation by state police is underway.

While on the stand Proctor defended his work, saying “These are unprofessional but they absolutely did not detract from the integrity of the investigation,” when referring to the texts he sent.

The Massachusetts State Police have rules, regulations and policies that include Organizational Values, Code of Ethics, Unbecoming Conduct, Bias-Based Policing, Dissemination of Information and Telephone Use.

Retired state trooper Todd McGhee called Proctor’s behavior “devastating” to a law enforcement professional’s career.  He said it doesn’t reflect the behavior of most troopers but what’s been exposed may have violated the oath that’s supposed to be upheld. 

“The conduct is clearly egregious. Conduct must always compliment the department and must always be in the highest regard in a sense to protect the name of the state police. There are probably three or four different areas that could trigger violations,” said McGhee.

The Norfolk County District Attorney’s office told us Proctor is still performing his normal duties. Proctor’s conduct raises possible Brady list concerns that could prevent him from testifying in future cases.  

Massachusetts State Police had no comment for this story, and the NBC10 Boston Investigators never heard back from Proctor’s lawyer. 

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