Group pushes to have Pierce County Sheriff added to list of officers with credibility issues

Oct 28, 2021, 9:30 AM | Updated: 11:20 am
Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer...
Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In the wake of an investigation finding that Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer violated department standards in a January encounter with a newspaper delivery driver, one group is calling to have him added to the list of law enforcement officers with a history of credibility issues.

Conflicting accounts after Pierce County sheriff calls police on Black delivery driver

Known more formally as the Brady list, it’s often used by prosecutors to identify officers with a history of dishonest or problematic behavior that could potentially compromise their testimony in court.

Troyer — who was also recommended for misdemeanor charges by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson — called the police on Black newspaper carrier Sedrick Altheimer around 2 a.m. on Jan. 27, describing him to the dispatcher as “homeless-looking,” and saying on three separate occasions that Altheimer had “threatened to kill” him.

Troyer later amended his story to officers at the scene to say that Altheimer had “never threatened him,” before clarifying his statement again the following day to allege that Altheimer told him he was “going to take (him) out.”

An independent investigation commissioned by the Pierce County Council and led by former Trump-appointed U.S. District Attorney Brian Moran was unable to substantiate that Troyer had been threatened. It also found that “a reasonable person could conclude that Sheriff Troyer exhibited an improper bias in his confrontation with Mr. Altheimer.”

Pierce County Sheriff Troyer says he knew charges were ‘coming since day one’

Citing that investigation’s conclusions, the Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance (WBLMA) petitioned Pierce County Prosecutor Mary Robnett on Wednesday to have Troyer added to the Brady list. In a letter addressed to Robnett, the group claimed that Troyer’s “integrity as a law enforcement agent should not be trusted,” and that the January incident “calls into question any past or future statements” made by Troyer in court.

“The courts have upheld that individuals charged with a crime must be informed of unethical or illegal acts by sworn officers or civil servants, in order to defend against charges,” the letter continues. “Sheriff Troyer should be added to the county’s Brady List not just for the actions he took during the January incident and after, but for his intentionally misleading public statements about the incident of focus, and his promises to support and participate in the investigation.”

The WBLMA — a coalition of leaders from Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, BLM Tri-Cities, the NAACP, WA State Democrats, the Institute for Black Justice, and more — had previously led an ultimately unsuccessful push to have the state’s Criminal Justice Training Commission review Troyer’s status as a certified peace officer.

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Group pushes to have Pierce County Sheriff added to list of officers with credibility issues