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Massachusetts State Trooper Under Investigation For Racist Online Posts

BOSTON (CBS) - A Massachusetts State Police trooper is under investigation for racist and profane comments he allegedly made on a website.

According to the WBZ-TV I-Team's Cheryl Fiandaca, Trooper Matthew Sheehan allegedly wrote the comments on a website called MassCops using the screen name "Big Irish."

Matthew Sheehan
Trooper Matthew Sheehan. (Photo: Massachusetts State Police)

State Police spokesman David Procopio told WBZ-TV that the department has launched an internal investigation into Sheehan.

"The tone and nature of these posts are repugnant and clearly do not reflect the values, ideals and opinions of the Massachusetts State Police," Procopio said. "Trooper Sheehan is currently on a standard administrative leave as the result of his role in a shooting incident on Saturday."

Sheehan is on that paid leave because he fired his rifle in Saturday's incident on Interstate 93 when a large group of ATV riders stormed the highway in Dorchester.  One rider was shot in the foot.

"The Department will hold an internal hearing on Friday to determine his duty status while the investigation is conducted," Procopio said. "Depending on the outcome of that hearing, Trooper Sheehan faces a potential change in his duty status for the duration of the investigation, up to and including being suspended without pay. When the investigation is completed, the Department will take further action as warranted by the results."

The racist comments were first reported by the Boston Globe Thursday, which prompted a very strong response from Gov. Charlie Baker.

"The fact that those posts and the vulgarity of them date back five, six, seven years, this is not an isolated incident," Baker said. "This is an ongoing collection of thoughts and comments that have no place in law enforcement, no place in public discussion, no place in our community period."

"The state police has a code of conduct, it's a good code of conduct and I would argue that the vast majority of the men and women who serve in the State Police uphold and honor that conduct," Baker said. "If those posts were issued by someone who's a member of the State Police, they are clearly a violation of code of conduct and he or she should be fired."

There has been no comment from Sheehan's attorney.

Sheehan has been a trooper since 2005.

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