Karen Read

Why was Trooper Proctor suspended? A look back at his offensive texts about Karen Read

The trooper was suspended without pay after a duty status hearing Monday

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Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor, the lead investigator in the Karen Read murder case, was suspended without pay after a duty status hearing Monday. He had already been relieved of duty and had his police-issued cruiser, gun and gear taken away, but was still collecting a paycheck pending the hearing.

Proctor had publicly admitted to making "unprofessional and regrettable" comments about Read during the investigation into the death of her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O'Keefe. The investigation led to Read being charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and leaving a scene of personal injury and death, which she denies.



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Last week, after a nine-week trial, a mistrial was declared; her lawyers claimed on Monday that the jury had been ready to acquit her on two of the charges, including murder.

Michael Proctor, the Massachusetts State Police trooper who led the investigation of John O'Keefe's death, took the stand and acknowledged sending inappropriate texts about defendant Karen Read.

The internal affairs investigation into Proctor remains ongoing, a state police spokesman said Monday, while announcing Proctor's suspension. The department will issue a finding on each allegation — sustained, not sustained, exonerated or unfounded — and relay the results to the state's POST Commission, which keeps police disciplinary records. In such investigations, if charges are found by investigators to be warranted, they are adjudicated by a State Police Trial Board.

A major turning point in the two-month trial came when Proctor was forced to acknowledge and apologize for sending offensive texts about Read to friends, family and fellow troopers during the investigation.

Here's a look back at what those text messages said:

Texts with Proctor's friend group

During his testimony in early June, Proctor read through a text conversation he had with a group of friends he'd known since childhood on the evening of Jan. 29, the day O'Keefe died. After some discussion, a friend wrote, "I'm sure the owner of the house will receive some s---."

Proctor responded, "Nope, homeowner is a Boston cop, too," and told his friend that Read "waffled" O'Keefe, whose body "was banged up" when he saw it at the hospital. When a friend asked if O'Keefe was beaten up, Proctor said, "Nope."

The lead investigator in the case against Karen Read has been suspended amid an internal investigation.

Proctor went on to explain, he testified, that Read and O'Keefe "arrived at the house together, got into an argument, she was driving and left" and added later, "there'll be some serious charges brought on the girl," explaining to the jury that he meant there was "compelling evidence" already that Read hit O'Keefe.

When a friend asked, "is she hot at least," Proctor replied, "from all accounts, he didn't do anything wrong. She's a whack-job," then spelled out a vulgar word for a woman.

Read's attorney objected and Judge Beverly Cannone, after asking, "These are your words, Trooper Proctor," had him say the word, "c---," out loud.

Proctor continued, "she's a babe. Weird Fall River accent, though," and added a disparaging comment about her rear.

"Why would you text that?" Adam Lally, the prosecutor, asked.

Proctor replied that it was "unprofessional and regrettable comments [that] are something I'm not proud of and I shouldn't have wrote in private or any type of setting."

Proctor also testified that he shared a picture of Read being walked out of the Milton state police barracks, and when someone asked if Read was "a smoke," he replied, "eh." He then made a disparaging remark about a medical condition suggesting incontinency.

The trooper referred to that comment as as "unprofessional" and not something he's proud of, but added, "these juvenile unprofessional comments have zero impact on the facts and the evidence and the integrity of this investigation."

Later, Lally returned to the texts with the friend group, asking about the language he used and the time frame he used them in.

Proctor said it was 16-18 hours after O'Keefe died, having established "Mr. O'Keefe never went into [the home at] Fairview Road, we knew there was one shoe at the scene, one shoe at the hospital" and other evidence, like taillight pieces at the scene, that pointed to Read's responsibility for killing O'Keefe.

"Based on the day's investigation, it was clear that Ms. Read had struck Mr. O'Keefe with her vehicle," Proctor said.

We have heard from more than 50 witnesses since the murder trial against Karen Read began, but Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor's testimony Monday has a lot of people talking.

Texts with Proctor's sister

Proctor testified he is very close with his sister, Courtney, and that she is friends with Julie Albert, a witness in the Read trial.

Proctor's sister was incredulous, then noted that McCabe's sister was "married to Brian Albert." The trooper told the jury that it was an "overall innocent conversation."

Later on, Proctor's sister asked if the Canton situation involved a homicide, to which Proctor responded, "Don't say a word to anyone."

"Of course not," his sister replied.

He went to say of the death, "at the very least it's suspicious," and told his sister that "Julie and Chris [Albert] were at the bar with the victim and girlfriend, gotta interview them."

Lally brought up a text message that his sister sent later on, after talking to Julie Albert: "When this is all over, she wants to get you a thank you gift."

Proctor replied, "Get Elizabeth one," referring to his wife. The trooper told the jury that his wife had been stuck taking care of their two kids for 10 nights, and added, "I never received a gift, I never asked for a gift, my wife never received a gift, my wife never asked for a gift."

About Read, Proctor also texted his sister, "Hopefully she kills herself."

Texts with Proctor's wife

Lally turned to conversations with his wife, in which he again referred to Read as a "whack job," this time after she was indicted by a Norfolk County grand jury.

Proctor reiterated that they were "unprofessional messages I should not have sent. I don't have an explanation other than they're regrettable and I shouldn't have."

Texts with Proctor's colleagues

Lally had Proctor go through several text threads involving colleagues, one of whom the trooper described as a buddy with whom he hangs out outside of work.

Proctor described the friend busting his chops about a conference call with the medical examiner and doctor, who hadn't determined O'Keefe's death as a homicide

Later on, Proctor refers to Read again as a "whack job" in a text with another trooper, who replied, "Dear God, wtf, what the hell is inconclusive about the whole thing?" — a reference to the medical examiner's office finding O'Keefe's manner of death to be undetermined.

In another thread involving that trooper and a different one, Proctor said he made "a regrettable comment .. about Ms. Read's medical condition."

Later, on a June day when Read was being processed at a state police barracks, Proctor's friend on the force said, "f--- her, b----," in reaction to a statement she made claiming that O'Keefe was killed by the Alberts.

In a different thread, Proctor made a comment about Yannetti, writing, after having to stop processing Read's phone upon finding protected communication between her and her attorney, that he was going through "his r------- client's phone. No nudes so far. I hate that man, I truly hate him."

The comment was "a distasteful joke," Proctor explained, adding later that he was not looking for nude pictures but "location data text communications … more evidence contained within the phone."

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