Sheriff who harassed black newspaper carrier goes on trial

A sheriff called “a danger to the community” by the judge who set his bail at $100,000 (see story here) went on trial this week for allegedly lying to a police dispatcher that a black newspaper carrier threatened him, prompting a massive police response.

Pierce County, Washington, Sheriff Ed Troyer was slapped with a restraining order after he allegedly continued to harass the carrier, Sedrick Altheimer, after their January 27, 2021, early-morning encounter on Altheimer’s newspaper route (see story here), and the bail hearing followed alleged violations of that order.

Troyer (photo, left), is charged with false reporting, a misdemeanor. The state attorney general investigated the racism-tinged incident at the governor’s request. His guilt or innocence likely will come down to who the 6-person jury believes.

In opening statements, his lawyer suggested Troyer will claim on the witness stand that Altheimer did threaten him, and argued the Tacoma police officer who wrote the incident report saying Troyer admitted at the scene he wasn’t threatened isn’t believable (see story here). That shouldn’t be too hard to resolve, as there were about 40 police witnesses.

If Troyer is convicted, he could get jail time, but wouldn’t be removed from office. As an elected official, only voters can recall him. Meanwhile, Altheimer is suing Troyer and the county for damages.

Related story: Read more details about the case and trial here.

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