Charges filed against Pierce County sheriff after January confrontation with newspaper carrier

TACOMA, Wash. — Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed criminal charges against Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer on Tuesday, alleging Troyer made a false statement to officials following a January confrontation with a newspaper carrier.

>> Tacoma body camera video shows response after sheriff called 911 on Black newspaper carrier

Troyer faces one count of false reporting and one count of making a false statement to a civil servant.

The charges were filed in Pierce County District Court. If convicted, Troyer would face up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine, according to a release from the attorney general.

The charges stem from a criminal investigation that Gov. Jay Inslee referred to the attorney general’s office April 24.

The investigation related to possible criminal violations from January when Troyer called 911 and claimed a Black newspaper carrier was threatening to kill him, court documents say.

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The newspaper carrier, 24-year-old Sedrick Altheimer, was working his regular delivery route Jan. 27 when Troyer began following him in his car around 2 a.m.

Altheimer continued working the route, noticing that a car was following him. After stopping at a house, Altheimer approached the car to find out why he was being followed.

Altheimer went up to the car and began talking to Troyer, who he did not recognize as the sheriff. He asked Troyer if he was a cop, and Troyer did not identify himself as law enforcement, according to the AG’s office.

Troyer continued to ask Altheimer questions and accused him of being a thief, documents say. Altheimer returned to his car and drove away and Troyer continued following.

Around 2:05 a.m., Troyer called 911 and reported that he caught someone in his driveway who “just threatened to kill me,” according to 911 records.

>> Gov. Inslee directs Attorney General to investigate Troyer

Over 40 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies responded. Altheimer denied making any threats to Troyer, blocking Troyer’s car or entering his driveway.

When questioned that night, Troyer walked back his initial claim that Altheimer had threatened him, according to police reports.

Altheimer later filed a lawsuit for $5 million claiming he was racially profiled by the Pierce County sheriff. He claimed his constitutional rights were violated and he suffered severe emotional distress.

Troyer has consistently denied allegations of racism.