PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - An independent investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran found that Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer violated several department policies and standards.
The Pierce County Council initiated the independent review of Troyer's actions following an encounter with a Black newspaper delivery driver in January.
The independent report, released on Oct. 26, concluded that Troyer "exhibited an improper bias in his confrontation with Mr. Altheimer." It also said that investigators were "unable to substantiate Sheriff Troyer’s claim that Mr. Altheimer threatened to kill or harm him during that incident."
Troyer is a 35-year veteran of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, he had been the agency’s media spokesperson before being elected as sheriff last year.
The Pierce County Council said it was reviewing the report, but wanted to immediately make it available to the public.
"Because we just received the report, members need time to review the information," said Pierce County Council Chair Derek Young. "Once we have processed the information, we will review potential next steps to determine how Council wants to proceed."
John Sheeran, Troyer's attorney representing him in the criminal case against him told FOX 13 News, "Sheriff Troyer did exactly what the people of Pierce County would want our law enforcement officers to do. He observed a suspicious vehicle at 2 am in the morning, he called the police. he didn't lie." Sheeran continued, "From everything I read sheriff Troyer couldn't even tell the race of the individual until after he got out of the car and confronted Sheriff Troyer, so the fact he was following a car and pulling into driveways at 2 am had nothing to do with race in the slightest ."
FOX 13 reached out to Sedrick Altheimer and his attorney for comment but have not heard back.
Read the publicly available report below:
On Jan. 27, Troyer called dispatch and said a man was going from driveway to driveway and appeared to be prowling. Troyer said he started following him after hearing a noise and seeing suspicious activity in his neighborhood.
FOX 13 News obtained audio of Troyer's calls to dispatch. He told the dispatcher that the "suspect," who turned out to be 24-year-old newspaper delivery driver Sedrick Altheimer, looked homeless and was driving a "beat up" vehicle.
"I'm trying to be polite to him, but he just says I'm a racist and wants to kill me," Troyer told dispatch.
Dispatch alerted 19 law enforcement agencies in the South Sound to an "officer needs help" call, prompting 42 units to respond. The massive response was called off after a Tacoma police officer arrived and said "we don't need the whole world here." Altheimer was detained at the scene.
On April 24, the Attorney General’s office opened a criminal investigation into Troyer over the incident. The investigation came at the direction of Gov. Jay Inslee.
In June, Altheimer filed a tort claim against the county seeking at least $5 million in damages.
On Oct. 19, the Washington State Office of the Attorney General announced it was filing misdemeanor charges against Troyer. According to a statement of probable cause, Troyer faces one count of false reporting and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
Troyer called the charge "a blatant and politically motivated anti-cop hit job."
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