Sheriff pleads not guilty to charges over confrontation

TACOMA, Wash. — The Pierce County sheriff has entered a not guilty plea in connection with charges stemming from a January confrontation with a Black newspaper carrier.

The News Tribune reports the plea was entered Thursday by Sheriff Ed Troyer’s attorney, John Sheeran.

“Sheriff Troyer entered a not guilty plea because he did not commit the crime,” Sheeran said. “We look forward to a jury hearing all of the evidence and vindicating him.”

The Washington State Attorney General’s office earlier this month charged Troyer with one count of false reporting and one count of making a false statement to a civil servant for claiming to an emergency dispatcher that the carrier, Sedrick Altheimer, had threatened to kill him.

The charges were filed in Pierce County District Court.

Troyer has denied any wrongdoing in the Jan. 27 incident, which started after the sheriff followed the 24-year-old Altheimer as he delivered newspapers on his regular route. The call from the county’s top law-enforcement officer prompted a large response, with more than 40 units from various agencies rushing toward to the scene.

If convicted as charged, Troyer faces up to a year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Troyer, who is white, has said he did not know Altheimer’s race when he began following him.

Troyer repeatedly told dispatchers Altheimer “threatened to kill me.” Altheimer denied making any threats and said Troyer did not identify himself as a law-enforcement officer.

Altheimer last week filed a lawsuit against Troyer and Pierce County claiming the sheriff used “racial animus” and “reckless disregard” for Altheimer’s constitutional rights.