A Washington state sheriff who allegedly tailed a Black man delivering newspapers falsely accused the man of threatening his life, summoning dozens of officers to the scene to apprehend him, prosecutors said Tuesday, reports CNN.
Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer was charged with one count of false reporting and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant in connection with the incident, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office said Tuesday. Ferguson filed the charges in Pierce County District Court.
After the charges were filed, Troyer told CNN in a statement the attorney general told the media about the charges before he informed Troyer or Troyer’s attorney and “”the night of the incident, I was doing what I have done for decades — investigate the possibility of criminal activity after neighbors and I had repeatedly become victims of property crime.” He added he believes the charges are politically motivated.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced in April he had instructed the state attorney general to investigate, calling initial reports of the incident “very concerning.”
The charges stem from a January 27 incident during which Troyer encountered Sedrick Altheimer while he was out delivering newspapers, according to a declaration for determination of probable cause filed by Ferguson’s office. In January, Altheimer would usually begin his shift around midnight and finish deliveries around 3 a.m., it added. He told investigators while working early January 27, he noticed “a white SUV appeared to be following him,” which police reports and body cam footage later showed was Troyer, according to the declaration.
Altheimer eventually pulled into a driveway to drop a newspaper at a house and decided to approach the SUV to ask why he was being followed, the declaration said. He asked Troyer if he was a police officer and asked if he was following him “because I’m Black?” according to the declaration.
Troyer, who did not identify himself as the sheriff or a law enforcement officer, allegedly told Altheimer his wife was Black and began to question him and accuse him of being a thief, according to the declaration.