Criminal charges have been filed against Pierce County, Wa. Sheriff Ed Troyer, months after he lied about a Black newspaper carrier threatening to kill him as he made deliveries in Troyer’s neighborhood in Tacoma.
According to The Seattle Times, prosecutors announced Tuesday that Troyer has been charged with one count of false reporting and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a civil servant.
As The Root previously covered, Troyer told an emergency dispatcher on Jan. 27 that Sedrick Altheimer threatened to kill him and blocked in his vehicle. Troyer later recanted this statement when Tacoma police questioned him, saying Altheimer never threatened him.
Altheimer told the Times in March that Troyer followed him in his unmarked SUV as he made stops on the route. He said Troyer didn’t identify himself as a law enforcement official when he asked why he was being followed. Altheimer said Troyer accused him of being a porch pirate (despite the fact he followed him on multiple stops and most likely saw Altheimer clearly doing his job).
From the Times:
The attorney general’s office charges allege Troyer “knew the information was false,” that his report “would likely cause an emergency response” and knowingly caused dispatchers to rely on statements that were “materially false and misleading.”
Troyer, who has denied wrongdoing, criticized the charging decision.
“I have never had a sustained or founded complaint in 37 years,” he said in a Tuesday morning phone interview. “I have never had a complaint of racial bias, use of force or sexual discrimination even filed.”
Troyer went on to say that the charges were a “blatant and politically motivated anti-cop hit job.” He previously told the newspaper that he didn’t follow Altheimer because he was Black and was surprised that Tacoma police filed an incident report on what happened in January since Altheimer wasn’t arrested.
In other words, it sounds like he thought he was going to easily get away with telling a blatant lie that resulted in more than 40 officers initially being called to respond to the scene–something that could have ended with Altheimer being arrested or worse for no real reason.
More from the Times:
The Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance called for Troyer to resign in a statement Tuesday, saying his claims that Altheimer was threatening to kill him were “flags to other officers that they should arrive on the scene ready to use deadly force. There is only one conclusion we can draw from that: Sheriff Troyer intended to do harm to Mr. Altheimer, who was doing nothing more than delivering the newspaper. These are federal ‘color of law’ violations, and Sheriff Troyer must resign immediately.”
In his own statement Troyer vowed to fight the charges, saying he’d been unfairly targeted by Ferguson, whom he accused of trying to “de-elect” him.
If convicted, according to the Times, Troyer faces up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine on each count.