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Trooper Michael Proctor could face additional discipline for actions in Karen Read case, expert says

Officer Kevin Albert placed on leave after Trooper Proctor testimony in Read trial
Officer Kevin Albert placed on leave after Trooper Proctor testimony in Read trial 03:28

BOSTON – Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor is currently suspended without pay for his actions as lead investigator in the Karen Read case. One law enforcement expert who was a state police trooper for more than two decades said Proctor's troubles could be far from over.

Proctor's suspension went into effect on Monday. It is not clear how long he will be off the job.

Why did Trooper Michael Proctor get suspended?

During Read's murder trial, Proctor was forced to testify about derogatory text messages he sent to friends, family and colleagues about her.

In one message he said "hopefully she kills herself." While searching Read's phone as part of the investigation, he said to a supervisor in a text message "no nudes so far."

On Tuesday, the State Police Association of Massachusetts called Proctor's suspension "disappointing."

"To date, we have received no information to indicate that his suspension was the result of anything other than these text message exchanges," union president Brian Williams' statement read.

Officer Killed Girlfriend Trial
Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor takes the stand to testify, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Norfolk Super Court, in Dedham, Mass., during the trial for Karen Read.  Kayla Bartkowski/The Boston Globe via AP

Text messages violated policy, expert says

Todd McGhee was a trooper with Massachusetts State Police for 24 years before retiring in 2011.

McGhee said the text messages alone warranted punishment.

"You have to understand that some of the conduct is in direct violation of department rules and regulations. So things like sharing state police business is a violation. It's a violation of confidentiality," McGhee said. "The department has high expectations of all of its members to have the utmost integrity to maintain that level of confidentiality about police business, especially in a high-profile case. So I don't think you can land on one thing that triggered a suspension without pay. I think it's a number of things to also connect to a high-profile case."

What could happen next to Trooper Proctor?

Proctor's text messages came to light as a part of the federal investigation into the handling of Read's case.

Between the federal probe and the internal investigation ongoing within Massachusetts State Police, McGhee said it wouldn't be surprising if Proctor faces additional sanctions.

"He's now in a holding pattern until the investigation completes itself. Then from there, there could be additional sanctions charged against him, to include further suspension and up to termination," McGhee said. "I think it's safe to say that there's more to come in the near future. We'll see how the case wraps up. But a couple of things we need to be mindful of. There's still this federal investigation that's out there. Does that mean there could be some charges brought against Trooper Proctor around civil rights violations? Is that at play?"

"Very strange and unusual case"

Overall, McGhee noted that Proctor's case has been unique because his punishment is a result of actions that are unfolding in the public eye.

"This is a story that is unique unto itself," McGhee said. "So many people, regardless of their vocation, from journalists to attorneys to law enforcement are all seeing this very, very strange and unusual case fold out."

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