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

TACOMA, Wash. — New video shows the police response after Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer called 911 on a Black newspaper delivery driver.

It’s video an independent investigator will also be examining while looking into the sheriff’s conduct.

On Tuesday, the Pierce County Council voted unanimously to spend $50,000 to hire a third-party investigator. The county has selected former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran to conduct the investigation and are currently negotiating on a contract.

“It is truly an independent investigation. The idea here would be that he would look into any misuse of authority, any violation of policy or conduct,” said Derek Young, Chair of the Pierce County Council.

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The investigation will also, “resolve disputed facts and versions, and include investigation of motivations and states of mind of those involved, including potential biases or prejudices” to the extent possible, according to an email from the Pierce County Council.

The body camera video KIRO7 obtained from Tacoma Police only shows interactions between officers and the newspaper carrier, Sedrick Altheimer.

Troyer called 911 on Altheimer on January 27, as first reported by the Seattle Times.

“I tried to be polite to him and he just says I’m a racist, wants to kill me,” Troyer said in the 911 call.

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In body camera video, you see Tacoma Police arriving at the scene. Officers found Altheimer in the middle of his shift delivering papers.

Altheimer: I am working. I am working! I’m a Black male in a white neighborhood working.

Tacoma PD: it has nothing to do with that.

Altheimer: Yeah, it does! (Troyer) is following me!

A Tacoma officer acknowledged that he saw all the newspapers in Altheimer’s vehicle.

Tacoma PD: (Troyer) just called saying someone threatened his life.

Altheimer: That’s a (expletive) lie. He’s lying. So what happens to him? What happens to a liar?

Troyer’s call triggered an “officer needs help” priority zero call, which brought more than 40 officers to the scene. Altheimer said he did not make any threats toward Troyer.

Tacoma PD: Did you guys have any verbal altercation?

Altheimer: He’s following me. I walked up to his car because he came around the block for the third time. I approached him. Why are you following me? Because I’m a Black male in a white neighborhood?

Just five minutes after Tacoma police arrive, an officer tells Altheimer, “What this looks like is a big case of - misunderstanding.”

The videos released as part of KIRO7′s public disclosure request did not include any interactions between Troyer and the officers.

Troyer has said he will fully cooperate with the investigation, and wrote this op-ed in the Tacoma News Tribune saying “have provided an incredible learning experience that will make me a better person and a better sheriff.”

Troyer said in the op-ed he has met with Black community leaders and has more scheduled in the coming days.

“I respect and appreciate their perspective and look forward to working together to create meaningful public safety reforms for the community,” Troyer wrote.