Sheriff Troyer must stay 1,000 feet away from newspaper carrier for 1 year, judge rules

A Pierce County judge ordered Sheriff Ed Troyer to stay 1,000 feet away from the Black newspaper carrier he confronted in January 2021 beginning Monday for one year following reports Troyer continued to surveil the man on his paper route.

That ruling is on top of the no-contact order already in place between Troyer and Sedrick Altheimer, the newspaper carrier, in connection to misdemeanor charges filed against the sheriff last year.

Altheimer filed for an anti-harassment protection order against Troyer in Pierce County District Court late last month. In a virtual hearing Monday, he said Troyer followed his vehicle while he was delivering papers after 1 a.m. as recently as April 27.

He said he decided to quit his job due to the alleged harassment and the fear contact with Troyer have caused him. He said the sheriff made eye contact while passing his car, followed his vehicle and flashed his high beams at him.

“I don’t feel safe no more,” Altheimer said as he broke into tears in court via Zoom.

Troyer’s attorney, John Sheeran, said the sheriff denies any continued contact with Altheimer except for a chance encounter outside Troyer’s father’s house this January. Sheeran said Troyer did not recognize Altheimer that day until the newspaper carrier identified himself.

Pierce County District Court Judge pro-tem Christine Ong said Altheimer presented ample testimony to prove otherwise.

Troyer’s continued surveillance of Altheimer despite no-contact provisions in the criminal case “suggest a disregard for the law,” Ong said.

“Considering the power that an individual like Sheriff Troyer holds, the anxiety and the harassment, you have to know that that is going to have an impact on someone like Mr. Altheimer,” Ong said. “That there is an intended effect when you’re out at 1 to 2 a.m. knowing that Mr. Altheimer will be out there and you’re repeatedly trolling the neighborhood.”

Troyer declined to make any statements in court Monday citing the ongoing criminal case against him. He initially did not appear for the hearing after Sheeran filed a motion to delay it on Monday morning.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office charged Troyer in October with false reporting and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant, both misdemeanors. The case is scheduled to go to trial in July.

That case was sparked when Troyer used a phone line only for law enforcement to report he’d caught Altheimer in his driveway and the newspaper carrier threatened to kill him, prompting a massive police response.

Troyer has repeatedly denied wrongdoing during the incident.

This story was originally published in The News Tribune.