BLM demands resignation of white sheriff accused of lying about black news carrier
A Black Lives Matter chapter in Washington state demanded that a white county sheriff resign after being accused of falsely claiming a black newspaper carrier threatened to kill him.
Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer is charged with one count of making false statements and one count of making false or misleading statements to an official, according to prosecution documents from the Office of State Attorney General Robert Ferguson. The misdemeanor charges stem from an incident on January 27, when Troyer followed Sedrick Altheimer along his newspaper route and called 911 claiming Altheimer threatened to kill him.
News of the incident prompted the Washington BLM Alliance to file a complaint with the US Department of Justice, meet with officials from the FBI field office in Seattle, and last week to call for Troyer’s resignation.
Sakara Remmu, the alliance’s senior strategist, said the group plans to request that Troyer be added to the county’s “Brady list” of law enforcement officers whose credibility has been questioned due to misconduct, criminal convictions, lies and similar acts. These lists are kept by local prosecutors and consulted in cases involving law enforcement officials.
“What he did was malicious,” Remmu said. “It’s clear: this sheriff was trying to get an innocent man killed. This is basically a crash case, where you intentionally call the police and lie, saying that your life is in danger so that the police respond ready to use excessive or lethal force.
An investigation by former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran, commissioned by Pierce County Council, found that Troyer violated several policies of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department during the meeting and that “a reasonable person could conclude that Sheriff Troyer had shown an inappropriate bias in his confrontation with Mr. Altheimer. ”The 48-page report was released Tuesday.
Altheimer was delivering newspapers along his usual route in Tacoma around 2 a.m. when he noticed Troyer’s personal vehicle, a white Chevrolet Tahoe, following him at several stops, according to Altheimer’s federal lawsuit against Troyer and the county. Altheimer eventually approached Troyer’s vehicle near North 27th Street and Deidra Circle and asked if he was a police officer, but Troyer, who was not on duty, did not respond or s ‘is identified as a law enforcement officer, says the prosecution.
Troyer then asked Altheimer what he was doing and if he knew where he was before calling him a thief and a “porch hacker,” according to the prosecution documents. Altheimer ignored the questions and walked away, only to hear Troyer say, “Hey, don’t walk away.” … I have four cops coming, ”according to the documents.
Troyer is heard in a 911 call describing Altheimer to dispatchers as “a thief with a garage door opener,” adding that Altheimer was in Troyer’s driveway and threatened to kill him.
At least 40 police officers arrived and stormed Altheimer’s car, ordering him to keep his hands on the wheel. Officers told Altheimer that Troyer claimed that Alheimer threatened to kill him.
“At the scene he said, ‘He’s lying! He lies !’ Said Altheimer lawyer Vonda Sargent. “Sedrick is traumatized. It was definitely a situation where the Sheriff set up a storyline that could have ended with Sedrick going missing.
Officers who responded confirmed that Altheimer was a newspaper carrier working on his route and determined that no crime had taken place, according to a police report. When Tacoma officers questioned Troyer, he said Alheimer never threatened him, according to the police report.
Troyer has since denied telling police that Altheimer had not threatened him, according to his attorney, John Sheeran.
“He didn’t make a false statement,” Sheeran said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “Sheriff Troyer said that night his life was in danger and has maintained that he has been since.” Sheeran told the Washington Post this year that Troyer started following Altheimer before he knew he was black and felt that Alheimer threatened Troyer but Troyer decided not to press charges.
Sheeran did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Troyer, who faces nearly a year in jail and a $ 5,000 fine if convicted, said the charges were “blatant and politically motivated anti-cop work” by Ferguson, the attorney general of the State, according to the Seattle Times.
Sargent, Altheimer’s lawyer, said her client was “surprised” and “satisfied” when he learned that Troyer had been accused of lying, which she also felt was appropriate.
“If Troyer had an ounce of decency… he would quit,” Sargent said. “He cannot be both the defender of truth and justice while engaging in criminal activity. I don’t expect the police to condemn his actions. I expect them to do exactly what they do, and that’s to hold the line.
Altheimer filed a tort action against Pierce County in June, claiming at least $ 5 million in damages. And he filed a federal lawsuit late last month seeking damages for trauma and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages and legal fees.
The incident came just months after hundreds of protests in cities across the country following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. In the year since this summer of protest, lawmakers in Washington passed laws making it easier to revoke or suspend an officer’s license due to misconduct, forcing police to intervene when colleagues have use of excessive force and prohibiting arrest warrants and strangulations, among others.
Remmu, of the BLM Alliance, said the laws are a good start, but there is still a long way to go for “real change”.
“Change is a process, and you have to have more than a ‘wake up call’,” Remmu said. “Once you pass laws, you have to make sure they are implemented, respected, and then you have to defend them so that they are not changed in the future. Every time the pendulum swings towards progress in this country, it reverts violently to resistance. “
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