Karen Read

Gov. Healey says state police ‘made the right decision' by relieving Michael Proctor of duty

She wouldn't comment when asked whether Proctor's superiors should face discipline

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Gov. Maura Healey said Tuesday that Col. John Mawn, interim superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, "made the right decision" by relieving Trooper Michael Proctor of duty after a mistrial was declared in the case against Karen Read.

"The colonel made the right decision," she said after a housing event in Lowell. "I fully support the decision made by MSP on this. As you know, it's under internal investigation, and that process will have to go forward. This was the right move to remove him. This is a process. We have to wait for that process to go forward."



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Proctor drew heavy criticism after testifying in the case, for which he served as the lead investigator, revealing a series of inappropriate texts he sent about Read. Shortly after a mistrial was declared Monday, Mawn issued a statement saying Proctor had been relieved of duty and transferred out of the Norfolk District Attorney's Office.

Michael Proctor, the lead investigator in the Karen Read case, is still with the Massachusetts State Police, but is not actively working amid an internal investigation into his conduct.

Healey added Tuesday that she has "no tolerance for that behavior, frankly, with anyone in law enforcement, with anyone in public service. Again, the colonel made the right move here, absolutely."

Asked whether action should be taken against Proctor's superiors, some of whom were also included in the text chain containing comments about Read, Healey said, "This is with MSP, so we'll have to see what the process is."

As for state police in general, Healey said she will make sure that the search for a new superintendent results in the hiring of a leader who "will bring the most professionalism, integrity and competence and skill to the position." She referred any further questions on the subject to state police.

Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor refused to answer questions from the NBC10 Boston Investigators after the murder trial against Karen Read ended with a hung jury.

The trial against Read — accused of killing boyfriend John O'Keefe, a Boston police officer, in 2022 — ended Monday when jurors were unable to reach a verdict. State prosecutors say they intend to retry Read.

O'Keefe was found dying in the snow outside the Canton home of Brian Albert, a fellow officer with the Boston Police Department. Prosecutors argued Read hit him with her SUV and left him to die, while Read's defense argued she was framed in a coverup involving law enforcement and people inside the home.

We hear from the Massachusetts State Police interim colonel about the internal affairs investigation that's ongoing into Michael Proctor, lead investigator in the Karen Read murder trial, and his conduct.

Proctor became the lead investigator after state police were called in because Albert has a brother with the Canton Police Department. But Proctor's own connection with other witnesses were called into question at the trial. Proctor acknowledged that he is close with his sister, Courtney, who is friends with Julie Albert, the homeowner's sister-in-law.

The trooper came under fire after testifying about texts he sent during the investigation to friends, family members and colleagues, including superiors with the state police.

In them, he called Read a "whack job" and a "c***," made disparaging remarks about medical conditions, and said he had found "no nudes so far" when going through her phone.

When a friend said they were "sure the owner of the house will receive some s***," Proctor replied, Nope, homeowner is a Boston cop, too."

The State Police Association of Massachusetts also weighed in with a lengthy statement, saying in part:

"The Association is proud of the work our members do each day, as well as the fact that our Massachusetts homicide solve rate is the envy of the country. At the same time, we must be clear that we do not condone the language used in text messages presented as evidence during the trial."

Read the full statement below.

Statement from State Police Association of Massachusetts on Karen Read trial and Michael Proctor

"On behalf of the 2,000 men and women who comprise the State Police Association of Massachusetts, our thoughts are with the O’Keefe family. The loss they have suffered is immense. We remain hopeful that justice will be served so the family receives the closure they deserve. 

This trial shined a bright light on our judicial process and the nuances of legal proceedings. It also blurred the lines between fact and innuendo presented during the defense of the accused. While the courts consider next steps, the focus has shifted to yesterday’s disciplinary action taken against Trooper Michael Proctor. 

It is our understanding that this discipline came as a result of the trooper’s private text message exchanges that were made public during the trial. We also understand that it has no relationship to salacious allegations of cover-ups, collusion or conspiracies offered by the defense.

The Association is proud of the work our members do each day, as well as the fact that our Massachusetts homicide solve rate is the envy of the country. At the same time, we must be clear that we do not condone the language used in text messages presented as evidence during the trial. 

While these matters evolve, we remain committed to representing the interests of our members and will continue advocating for an educated, highly trained, and diverse workforce to serve the Commonwealth with pride and distinction."  

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