Sheriff’s Lies About Black Man Result in Massive Police Response

Sheriff Ed Troyer of Pierce County, lied about a Black man, saying the man threatened to kill him
Ed Troyer

Threat Report Results in a 42 Officer Response

(WA) – A newly elected sheriff, in Washington State, is facing severe backlash from an incident that blatantly shows racism, but also a willingness to lie about a situation. On January 27, at about 2:00 in the morning, Pierce County Sheriff Troyer said he heard a noise outside and went to go investigate. It’s really hard to tell what happened from here because Troyer keeps changing his story. It appears a vehicle was driving in and out of driveways. Troyer got in his personal vehicle and followed the individual. The individual kept performing his maneuvers until the driver got frustrated with the Troyer following him. The driver, Sedrick Altheimer, got out of his vehicle to deliver a paper then walked over to demand to know why he is being followed. The driver returned to his vehicle then whipped around so that the two vehicles were facing each other in the street. Troyer called the police and said that the driver (Altheimer) was threatening to kill him and asked for back up.

Changing Story by Sheriff Violates Public Trust

The contradictions by Sheriff Troyer are unbelievable. At one point he claims that Mr. Altheimer drove into his driveway and tried to use a remote door opener on his garage door. At another time he says his driveway was full which indicates that no, Altheimer did not pull into the driveway. Troyer says Altheimer was driving into different driveways with his vehicle lights off. But you can hear below that he tells the police dispatcher that he saw lights pulling into the driveway which is what caught his attention. Troyer tells the police dispatcher that he has blocked the man in, but changes it a little later to the man has him blocked in. But the most damning comment of all, one he makes in various forms several times, is when he says that Altheimer threatened to kill him. However, when the Tacoma police try to get information from Troyer to clarify whether a threat was made the officer writes in his report,

I specifically asked 01/TROYER if 02/ALTHEIMER ever made any threats towards him or displayed any weapons. 01/TROYER advised that 02/ALTHEIMER never threatened him and he did not observe 02/ALTHEIMER with any weapons. 01/TROYER described that when he confronted 02/ALTHEIMER at the listed address it was clear he, “wanted to fight.” 

Now Troyer is back to saying that Altheimer did threaten to kill him and is accusing the Tacoma police officer of getting it wrong.

In addition to those things we can validate, Altheimer said he placed a newspaper into a circular tube holder than went to ask Troyer why he was following him. Troyer says they never spoke. Altheimer says he accused him of targeting him because he is Black. He says that Troyer responded by saying his wife was Black. Troyer says he never said that. Troyer’s wife is a Pacific Islander.

Sheriff Buckles Down on Bigotry and Racial Discrimination

Many things fall under racial discrimination, such as racial bias and racial profiling. I suspect those last two were at play during this situation. Troyer showed his perception of being superior when he describes the man and the vehicle to the police dispatcher. He refers to Altheimer as Black and looking homeless. A bit later he even describes the vehicle as looking homeless. Troyer goes from “thinking” Altheimer might have one of those garage door openers to being certain that Altheimer tried to use it on several different garages. He lies about Altheimer threatening to kill him, but tries to play it off by saying Altheimer wanted to fight him.

Then he does what we’ve seen law enforcement do so many times. he tries to flip the script.

“What are we supposed to do as police? Not look at suspicious vehicles and not pull them over because a Black person might be inside?” Troyer said.

Do you see how he’s trying to make this an attack against the whole police department rather than a condemnation of his specific actions? See how he’s trying to set it up to be, if you go against him, you must be against all police officers?

Sheriff Troyer refuses to step down. At least one organization is discussing the possibility of a recall. They should follow through with it. He has shown he is willing to abuse his position and lie about an incident. He can’t be trusted in the position of sheriff.

Note: The police report says there was no crime; however, according to the Washington State Legislature,Making a false or misleading statement to a public servant. –  A person who knowingly makes a false or misleading material statement to a public servant is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. “Material statement” means a written or oral statement reasonably likely to be relied upon by a public servant in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties.”

Sounds to me like the sheriff committed a crime. Maybe that’s why he’s changed his story back claiming Altheimer threatened to kill him.

Police Dispatcher Audio

Note, the Seattle Times article does the best job of telling this story.

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