Rantz: State AG charges Pierce County Sheriff with 2 misdemeanors after ‘unusual’ move

Oct 18, 2021, 10:21 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2021, 10:21 am
Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer...
Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office has filed misdemeanor charges against Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer.

As I reported Monday night, sources told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that the sheriff will face one count of false reporting and one count of false statements to a civil servant.

The charges stem from an incident where Troyer called the police on a man who turned out to be a newspaper delivery driver. Troyer said he saw a car driving in and out of a neighbor’s driveway at 2 a.m. with its headlights off. Troyer had previously experienced a car break-in and was suspicious. He then drove after the man, identified as 24-year-old Sedrick Altheimer.

In 911 audio, Troyer can be heard telling the dispatcher that the car he was following was “homeless-looking,” and said on three separate occasions that Altheimer had “threatened to kill” him. Altheimer denies that claim.

No evidence has been presented to show a crime

Altheimer, who is Black, claimed Troyer targeted him in a case of racial profiling. No evidence has been publicly presented to support the claim. Troyer has maintained that he couldn’t tell the race — or gender — of the driver.

“So at that point, it’s two o’clock in the morning — that’s suspicious,” Troyer told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH at the time. “And at this point, I have no idea who was driving that car. I don’t know if it’s a male, female, what the race is, not at all, not one bit.”

Still, the incident developed into a controversy feeding into the national talking point of racist policing. Anti-police activists called for prosecution.

Tacoma PD didn’t refer the case, but Gov. Inslee got involved

The Pierce County Council then instigated an investigation. They do not have oversight over the sheriff’s office, an elected position. They chose to get involved due to escalating interest from activists.

Troyer welcomed the investigation. But it came to a halt when the governor became involved.

Governor Jay Inslee granted state Attorney General Bob Ferguson concurrent jurisdiction to investigate. That meant the AG’s office was able to move forward on its own. Not long after that, the county council paused its own investigation.

Speaking to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, Pierce County Prosecutor Mary Robnett called this move “unusual.” She said before Inslee’s decision, the AG’s office called her up to three times asking for updates on the case. But Tacoma Police never referred the matter to Robnett.

Why was the AG’s office so interested in Troyer’s case? Robnett didn’t know but said she didn’t feel pressure. Still, in her three years in the role, she never received this kind of interest in a case from an attorney general.

The AG’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Troyer issued a statement to KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show late Monday night, saying the following:

AG Ferguson and his office has called media outlets in the area to leak that he intends to file misdemeanor charges against me, your elected Sheriff.

In spite of the fact that he is telling the media, he hasn’t had the professional courtesy to tell me or my lawyer.

This ambush confirms that this is not an independent and fair investigation. The charge is a blatant and politically motivated anti-cop hit job. His intention is supported by the fact that numerous times AG Ferguson’s office called the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office and asked for the case. After being denied by the prosecutors office multiple times he asked Governor Jay Inslee to get involved and forcibly take it from Pierce County. I support a fair and independent investigation, this is not it. AG Ferguson’s actions stopped that investigation.

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.

At all times, I sought to de-escalate the incident by asking for 1 or 2 units to help.

AG Ferguson has done the opposite and instead has sought to escalate and exaggerate the incident for political reasons and spent tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours investigating a misdemeanor that did not happen. Concurrently Ferguson has not lifted a finger to investigate the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits that happened on his watch.

I’m a Pierce County cop with a belief in Pierce County juries. I’m confident a Pierce County jury will not allow Bob Ferguson to de-elect the sheriff the voters elected.

Ferguson is an anti-law and order an anti-cop politician trying to score points for political gain.

This attorney general has taken it upon himself to attack cops because it will get him headlines and further his anti-cop agenda.

Ferguson has spent a huge amount of money investigating an alleged misdemeanor that was not committed but has ignored the crimes committed against cops. We don’t hear of charges against even one person who assaulted officers during the CHOP riots and other related crimes.

Ferguson is trying to defund the police in Pierce County and Tacoma one meritless prosecution at a time. I’m built for this challenge and will fight it to the end.

My job is to protect the citizens of Pierce County and that is what I have done for 37 years and that is what I will continue to do. I have had my windows broken out in my office, car broken into, death threats and more.

Ferguson has taken it upon himself to target me. Ferguson has done nothing about the skyrocketing Crime across our state. As state attorney general Bob Ferguson is not protecting citizens he is creating more crime with a false narrative and causing division in our communities and empowering criminals.

Bob Ferguson’s solution to crime is charging a 37 year veteran of law-enforcement with no founded or sustained complaints in his career as a criminal.

We can either have a safe community where police are allowed to do their job or we can have the cops handcuffed and the criminals run free.

I ask for your support in standing up to bullies in power.

Update, 9:35am: Attorney General Bob Ferguson has officially filed the two charges against Sheriff Troyer. The Pierce County Council also issued a statement shortly after Ferguson’s announcement, saying that it “takes these charges seriously and will consult with the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney, who serves as legal counsel to the Council, to review all available options.”

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: State AG charges Pierce County Sheriff with 2 misdemeanors after ‘unusual’ move