- A white sheriff in Washington state faces charges for claiming a Black newspaper carrier threatened to kill him.
- Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer was charged with false reporting and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
- Troyer told The Seattle Times that he thinks the investigation into his actions was politically motivated.
A white sheriff in Washington state is facing charges after previously walking back his claims that a Black newspaper carrier was stopping at different houses in his neighborhood and threatened to kill him.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson charged Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer with one count of false reporting and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant in Pierce County District Court.
The attorney general’s office released a statement of probable cause on Tuesday that alleged Troyer followed Sedrick Altheimer, a Black newspaper carrier, through his neighborhood before calling police to make a false report that Altheimer threatened to kill him.
Troyer initially told the 911 operator that Altheimer had blocked his car in and would not let him leave, then reversed course and said that he had blocked Altheimer in with his car, according to the statement of probable cause.
“He knows who I am and he threatened to kill me and I’ve got him blocked in,” Troyer can be heard saying on a 911 call obtained by KCPQ.
Troyer later walked back on his claim that Altheimer threatened him in a police report obtained by The Seattle Times. Altheimer “never threatened him,” the report says.
Troyer’s attorney, John Sheeran, maintains that Altheimer did threaten Troyer. Sheeran told Insider that after Troyer learned that Altheimer was a newspaper delivery person, Troyer told the responding officer, “you know, we don’t need to pursue it anymore.”
“He never walked back the threat,” Sheeran said.
Troyer declined “repeated requests” for interviews with the attorney general’s investigators, The Times reported. Troyer called the attorney general’s investigation a “blatant and politically motivated anti-cop hit job” in a written statement to the newspaper.
“I have never had a sustained or founded complaint in 37 years,” Troyer told the Times in an interview. “I have never had a complaint of racial bias, use of force, or sexual discrimination even filed.”
Sheeran echoed Troyer’s claims that the attorney general’s investigation was politically motivated to curry the favor of people “attached to the defund the police movement.”
“You don’t spend this kind of money in these kind of resources investigating a misdemeanor that didn’t happen,” Sheeran told Insider.
Police from over 40 units belonging to various agencies in Pierce County responded to Troyer’s original 911 call for help, though most were called off after the Tacoma Police Department arrived at the scene, according to The Times.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.