White people in America can never truly appreciate the sheer frustration of constant racial profiling. They could never understand the degree of resentment and rage that accumulates inside Black people who can’t even go about the most regular-degular-ass business without looking suspicious to someone or being perceived as more aggressive and threatening than they actually are just because they dare express their aggravation out loud.
A Black man in Tacoma, Wa., said he was simply doing his job as a newspaper delivery driver when a man he later learned was a Pierce County sheriff started following him while he was on his route. He said he eventually stopped and confronted the man who was in an unmarked vehicle to ask why he was being followed and before he knew it, he was surrounded by police officers after the sheriff claimed and then later recanted his claim that the Black man had “threatened to kill” him.
The Seattle Times reports that on Jan. 27, 24-year-old Sedrick Altheimer was working his regular route when he got into the altercation with Sheriff Ed Troyer.
Here’s what happened, according to what Altheimer told the Times in a recent interview:
“I’m throwing papers out the window, left and right, both windows are down … and I see this SUV hit the block,” Altheimer said. He said he didn’t know it was the county sheriff behind the wheel of the unmarked Chevy Tahoe.
The two passed each other and the SUV then turned around to follow him, Altheimer said. He said the SUV tracked him as he stopped at houses — as he does six nights a week — delivering newspapers, including The News Tribune, Wall Street Journal and The Seattle Times.
“I continue what I’m doing, because, you know, I’m working. I’m not doing any harm to the neighborhood. I work here every night,” Altheimer said, adding that he has been followed on his route before.
Troyer later told police he’d been at home when he heard a noise and went to investigate, according to the Tacoma police incident report.
Irritated that the SUV kept tracking him, Altheimer placed a newspaper in a plastic cylinder at a home, he said, then he walked over to the SUV to ask why he was being followed. He said he thought Troyer looked familiar but didn’t recognize him as the county’s top law-enforcement officer.
“So I asked him, ‘Who are you?’” Altheimer said. He said Troyer didn’t identify himself, but asked what he was doing in the neighborhood and “called me all types of names,” accusing him of being “a porch pirate,” slang for someone who steals packages from porches.
Altheimer said he didn’t explain to the man that he was delivering newspapers because
it was none of his mother fucking business he didn’t feel he was obligated to. He also said Troyer never identified himself as a sheriff, which he certainly should have since he was the one tailing the man as if it takes that damn long to realize someone tossing newspapers to houses is probably—oh, I don’t know—just fucking delivering newspapers.
“I said if you had a problem and you feel like you’re so in danger, then you should just call the police unit and bring him out here,” Altheimer said. “So then he makes a comment, he’s like ‘Oh, I got four cars on the way.’ I’m like, congratulations.”
Altheimer said the real drama began when he got back in his car and continued about his business and Troyer continued to follow him. “At that point, he said, he wheeled his car around, leaving the two men facing each other at North 27th Street and Deidra Circle,” the Times reports.
During that confrontation, Troyer—who, in an interview, claimed he never had any discussion with Altheimer saying, “I never talked to him. I never talked to the guy”—called 911 dispatch and told a story that contradicts both Altheimer’s account as well as the story he himself told later on.
More from the Times:
“Hey, it’s Troyer,” his call begins. “I’m at 27th and Deidra in Tacoma, in North End, about two blocks from my house, and I caught someone in my driveway who just threatened to kill me and I’ve blocked him in, he’s here right now.”
Later in the 911 call, Troyer said the other driver had him blocked in. He described Altheimer’s 1995 Geo Prizm as “beat-up” and “homeless-looking.” He also said on the call the car had gone up his driveway, but later said there was no room in the driveway.
On the call, Troyer said, “I’m trying to be polite to him, but he says I’m a racist and wants to kill me.”
According to the Times, Troyer’s call resulted in “more than 40 officers from multiple agencies rushing toward the scene.”
Of course, Troyer—who later admitted to responders that Altheimer “never threatened him”—claimed the situation had “nothing to do with him being Black.”
“I couldn’t even tell you that he looked all that Black,” Troyer said of a man who, according to a photo shared by the Times, is very much unmistakably Black. Troyer also pivoted to the classic “I have a Black friend” defense saying, “I am the only white man within five houses, and I have a Black grandson that lives with me.”
Fortunately, the incident ended without a Black man losing his life or freedom behind white nonsense. Altheimer—who the Times said didn’t seek out media attention but agreed to be interviewed at the publication’s request—said he told family members about the incident and that he wanted to file a complaint but didn’t know how to go about it.
After officers released Altheimer, Troyer reportedly commented that “All he had to do is calmly say, ‘Hey, I am delivering newspapers.’”
Yeah, or maybe you could’ve just minded your white-ass business.