Canton Detective Kevin Albert, Brother of Karen Read Case Witness, Suspended by Police Chief

Canton Police Detective Kevin Albert, whose brother owned the home where John O’Keefe’s body was found in January 2022, has been suspended for actions he took during an investigation he conducted about two years ago with former state trooper Michael Proctor, a city official said Tuesday.

Canton City Council Speaker Michael C. Loughran said in a brief statement that the city’s police chief, Helena Rafferty, had placed Albert on leave on June 13.

“Chief Rafferty has placed Kevin Albert on paid administrative leave while an external, independent investigation is conducted into his actions in a matter he investigated with Michael Proctor approximately two years ago,” Loughran said at the city council meeting. “Kevin Albert was placed on leave on June 13 and will remain on leave pending the results of the investigation by the external, independent investigator.”

On June 12, Proctor testified during Karen Read’s murder trial in Norfolk Superior Court that he and Albert were investigating an unsolved case on Cape Cod in July 2022. The two men ended the day with “a few beers” and the next day, Proctor discovered Albert’s badge in his car.

Proctor texted Albert, who responded by asking “did I bring my gun” and adding a grimace emoji, according to testimony. Albert later texted that he was hungover and would have a few more drinks that night “to feel better.”

Read’s attorneys questioned Proctor, the lead investigator in the case, about his interactions with Kevin Albert as evidence of his ties to the Albert family, which they said constituted a conflict of interest. Kevin Albert’s brother, Brian, owned the home on Fairview Road where O’Keefe’s snow-covered body was found, and Read’s attorneys say O’Keefe was beaten at the home where Brian Albert was hosting an afterparty.

Brian Albert testified that O’Keefe was not at home at all that night.

State Trooper Michael Proctor testified during the murder trial of Karen Read.Greg Derr/Associated Press

Prosecutors say Read was intoxicated and intentionally drove her Lexus SUV into O’Keefe in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2022, outside a home on Fairview Road. She returned several hours later to find O’Keefe’s snow-covered body on the front lawn, repeatedly shouting, “I hit him,” as first responders watched, witnesses said.

Proctor was relieved of his duties as a detective in Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office after his crude and demeaning text messages about Read were presented at a trial that ended with a hung jury. Prosecutors have said they will retry Read, and a status hearing is scheduled for July 22.

On Monday, Proctor was suspended and unable to receive pay.

Also Tuesday, board member Christopher P. Albert, brother of Kevin and Brian Albert, apologized for “two recent verbal altercations” with members of the audience, a comment that drew derisive laughter from some in the audience. The Albert family has come under intense scrutiny from Karen Read supporters who believe she was framed for O’Keefe’s death.

“As many of you know, I recently had two verbal encounters with members of the public outside of my role as Select Board member,” Albert said, reading from a prepared statement. “Despite the tremendous harassment, stress and anxiety my family, extended family and I have been subjected to over the past 16 months, my interactions were inappropriate.”

As an “elected official, I am held to a higher standard and understand that the residents of Canton expect public officials to always conduct themselves professionally and focus on the city’s interests,” he continued. “I apologize for my recent reaction and will refrain from further public incidents that are unbecoming of a member of this Board of Elections.”

Some of the audience started applauding after Albert delivered his speech.

Amid heavy criticism of the Canton Police Department, Town Meeting members voted in November to spend up to $200,000 for an outside review of the department. That investigation is ongoing.

John R. Ellement can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him @JREbosglobe.