Sedrick Altheimer is coming for the justice he seeks after a swarm of Tacoma, Wa., police officers descended on him in his car while he was delivering newspapers on Jan. 27. Altheimer was surrounded, questioned and searched after Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer made a frantic call for backup accusing the newspaper carrier of threatening to kill him.
According to the Seattle Times, Altheimer filed a lawsuit against both Pierce County and the sheriff, claiming that Troyer violated his constitutional rights that fateful night.
Earlier this year, The Root reported that Troyer admitted to falsely claiming Altheimer threatened him during his call to an emergency dispatcher. Troyer trailed the man on his route for several stops and did not identify himself as police. Altheimer, who did not know he was talking to a sheriff, confronted Troyer for following him before the sheriff made the call that resulted in more than 40 officers responding to the scene. Fortunately, Altheimer was not arrested or worse.
Here’s more about the lawsuit from the Seattle Times:
The lawsuit also alleges Troyer acted due to “racial animus” and “reckless disregard for Mr. Altheimer’s civil rights.”
Troyer, who is white, has said he did not know the race of Altheimer when he started tailing him on Jan. 27, saying he left his home and jumped in his SUV because he saw what he thought was a suspicious car in the neighborhood.
The lawsuit was quietly filed last month in King County Superior Court and transferred last week to U.S. District Court after a request by an attorney for Pierce County.
It seeks damages for emotional distress and trauma as well as punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
Last week, Troyer was charged with one count of false reporting and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a civil servant by the state attorney general.
The Associated Press reports that Altheimer previously filed a tort claim against the county seeking at least $5 million. Troyer is also under another investigation into his conduct which is expected to wrap up this week. AP notes that former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran is expected to release a report that will determine whether or not Troyer violated ethical standards or policies and will recommend sanctions based on the findings.
Troyer has refused to resign as sheriff in the face of all the backlash and vows to stay and fight to clear his name.
“We can either have a safe community where police are allowed to do their job or we can have the cops handcuffed and the criminals run free,” he said after being charged last week, according to AP.
Sheriff, the only one facing criminal charges here is you.