TACOMA, Wash. - Pierce County District Court heard emotional testimony on Tuesday from the newspaper carrier at the center of the false reporting trial against Sheriff Ed Troyer.
Within minutes of taking the witness stand, Sedrick Altheimer told the court he was nervous and began crying. He became emotional when explaining to state prosecutors he had previously dealt with residents and police stopping and questioning him while delivering newspapers.
Recalling the day of Jan. 27, 2021, Altheimer said he was delivering newspapers in Tacoma’s Vista View neighborhood. That was the day Altheimer said Troyer was following him while he was working. After noticing he was being followed, Altheimer said he approached Troyer, who was sitting in his car. The paper carrier said he stayed about an arm’s length away from Troyer and asked why he was being followed.
"He just talked down to me, like I was just lost. Like I didn’t know where I belonged. He accused me of being a porch pirate," said Altheimer.
Troyer called South Sound 911 on a law-enforcement-only line, claiming Altheimer was threatening to kill him. The call was played in court during a testimony, in which Troyer was heard saying, "In my driveway and my neighbor's driveway and he knows who I am and he tried to kill me and I’ve got him blocked in."
Troyer was also heard requesting only one or two officers to help him. Several officers were dispatched to the scene, where nine Tacoma police officers and at least one sheriff’s deputy arrived.
Altheimer told the court he believed the day in question was a case of racial profiling, further stating he was frustrated and afraid while at the scene.
"When you are sitting in a vehicle and you're Black and cops surround you, guns are drawn. They don't know what my threat level is, they don't know who I was. And they came to that scene because somebody has lied to them," said Altheimer.
The defense argued Altheimer never told Troyer that he was a newspaper carrier.
Troyer’s attorney, Anne Bremner, asked: "In terms of confrontation face-to-face, you confronted him first, didn’t you?"
Altheimer responded, "I asked him questions. Yes."
remner further asked, "You physically came up to him first, didn’t you? At his car?" to which Altheimer said 'yes.'
When Bremner asked Altheimer if Troyer ever mentioned race or make any racially disparaging comments during their encounter, Altheimer said ‘no.’
The defense argued as soon as Troyer learned about Altheimer being a newspaper carrier, he told officers at the scene to let him go. Bremner did question the route Altheimer testified he drove on the day in question, saying Troyer’s recollection was different.
Altheimer responded to her question, saying, "Can we say misleading? You’re trying to mix it up now." Bremner replied, "Oh, I don’t want to do that. I’m just here for the truth," in which Altheimer said, "Yeah, I am too."
Testimony is scheduled to continue Wednesday at Pierce County District Court.