Canton Police Chief Helena Rafferty has threatened to arrest peaceful protesters in her town, and used the official CPD social media accounts to urge people to stop paying attention to the Karen Read case. At a Board of Selectman meeting where she spoke with her back to the audience, Rafferty urged people to let the case play out in court, instead of in the court of public opinion, before making blatantly untrue comments that there was “absolutely no evidence of a coverup in the tragic death of John O’Keefe.” She’s also been a vocal critic of mine, criticizing my award winning journalism for inciting peaceful mobs of grandmothers and small children to show up and protest at her friend Jennifer McCabe’s house.
But it turns out that like many of the villains in this story, Chief Rafferty is a long time turtle rider, and a huge hypocrite.
In January of 2020 Chief Rafferty commented under a blog post I had written about Patrick Clancy, whose wife Lindsay had murdered their three children in his Duxbury home while he got takeout. That story still haunts me, and was incredibly hard to process while I was writing it. I did not defend what Lindsay Clancy, but I empathized with whatever demons she was dealing with that caused her to do something so heinous. More than anything I was in awe of Patrick Clancy, who issued a statement in which he said he still loved his wife. Chief Rafferty said it was “humane and thought provoking insight.”
In other words, Chief Rafferty doesn’t mind “sensationalism” about high profile murder cases, so long as they don’t take place in her town, and aren’t covered up by her officers. You can show empathy for Lindsay Clancy, but you can’t show empathy for Karen Read.
Right around this same time Rafferty also posted an official statement from the Canton Police Department about Tyre Nichols, a black man who was beaten to death by 5 black police officers in Memphis. In the statement she said that it “shocks the conscience” that officers who took an oath to protect and serve, would do the opposite. She asked where their humanity was, and rightfully stated that the murder “further erodes the trust earned by the righteous officers I interact with daily.” She also offered a plea to the black community of Canton that her thoughts were with them over the death of a man they never met 1,500 miles from Canton (because apparently she believes that black people are a monolith).
It’s OK to sensationalize police misconduct in Tennessee, but when you talk about it in Canton you’re part of the problem. It’s easy to condemn bad police when they’re 1,500 miles from home. It’s a lot harder when they’re the people who coach your kid’s Little League team.
In what way have her officers “earned the trust” of the community?
Lt. Michael Lank has been promoted twice since an incident in which he wrongly arrested the Lopilato brothers, while he was under the influence of alcohol, at the request of his ex-con friend Chris Albert.
Where was Lt. Michael Lank’s humanity when he saw a distraught Karen Read crying for her murdered boyfriend, went inside 34 Fairview Road, and purposely chose not to investigate the crime scene where John O’Keefe was beaten?
Former Police Chief Ken Berkowitz planted tail light evidence a week after O’Keefe was murdered, and asked a reporter to take down a tweet mentioning the fact that O’Keefe’s body was found on Brian Albert’s lawn because BA was a “pillar of the community.” When we reported this she didn’t bemoan how it “eroded the trust earned” by police. Instead she demanded that people stop paying attention to “sensational” reporting on the facts of the case.
Officers Saraf, Mullaney, Lt. Lank, Lt. Gallagher, and Sgt. Goode all searched the scene where John’s body was found and found zero pieces of Karen Read’s tail light. Yet their cowardice forces them to remain silent as the State Police, led by Michael Proctor, “found” 35 pieces of tail light that they somehow missed. This erodes the public trust.
When a peaceful rolling rally protest came to her town in July she ordered her officers to stay far away, despite the fact that residents were allegedly in fear. Many residents vocalized this concern at a Select Board meeting in August, but Rafferty said nothing to address it. How is this earning the trust of the community?
Speaking of Tyre Nichols, his autopy photos look eerily similar to O’Keefe’s.
Maybe he got hit by a Lexus too.
Why is Chief Rafferty encouraging protests in Memphis, while discouraging protests in Canton?Why has she criticized the Memphis Police but not the State Police? They quite clearly planted tail light evidence at a crime scene in her town, and in doing so made her officers look blind and inept. Why does she feel comfortable criticizing 5 cops in Memphis for doing something horrible, but makes demands that peaceful protesters stop demanding accountability for a corrupt MSP detective who lives in her town, and is leading the coverup of a murder?
It’s so easy for cops like Rafferty to criticize the Memphis Police Department, because she’ll never go there. But when it comes to cops in her own town covering up the murder of a fellow police officer she has nothing to say, except to ask people to stop talking about it.