Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer. (302794)

Pierce County (Washington) Sheriff Ed Troyer sparked a massive police response in late January after confronting a Black man driving near his home, telling a 911 dispatcher the man “threatened to kill me” — an allegation he retracted upon questioning by Tacoma police, reports the Seattle Times.

The man was a newspaper carrier on his regular route.

The 24-year-old carrier, Sedrick Altheimer, said the early morning encounter on Jan. 27 left him afraid for his life and angry at Troyer — who was driving an unmarked, personal SUV and didn’t identify himself as law enforcement.

Troyer, who is White, said he did not racially profile Altheimer. He said he began following the carrier because he saw a driver he believed was behaving suspiciously in his neighborhood in Tacoma’s West End. “There is nothing to do with him being Black,” Troyer told the Seattle Times.

The newly elected sheriff expressed surprise Tacoma police had written an incident report about the encounter, noting Altheimer was not arrested. “I thought they solved it that night,” he said.

Troyer’s call to a 911 dispatcher, which came in shortly after 2 a.m. on a Wednesday, spurred an urgent countywide alert that sent more than 40 officers from multiple agencies rushing toward the scene, public records show. Most were called off after Tacoma police arrived. Altheimer was temporarily detained while police searched him and his vehicle, which he gave them permission to do.

Troyer is a 35-year veteran of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, who for years served as the agency’s public face and media spokesperson before being elected sheriff in November.

His statements about what happened that night contain some inconsistencies, at times contradicting his recorded call to an emergency dispatcher and diverging sharply on key points from what Altheimer says happened.

No charges have been filed against either party, although Altheimer is still considering it.