Troyer trial: Judge denies motion to dismiss false reporting charge

Dec 12, 2022, 2:55 PM
Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

A judge has denied a push from Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer’s attorneys to dismiss the false reporting charge against him.

“Any rational trier of fact could find the defendant guilty of the crime of false reporting beyond a reasonable doubt,” Judge Jeffrey Jahns said during today’s court session. “The defendant’s motion to dismiss a false reporting charge and caught one is denied.”

Troyer faces two misdemeanor charges — false reporting and making a misleading statement to a public servant.

The charges stem from a January 2021 incident where the sheriff followed Sedrick Altheimer, a newspaper carrier who is Black, and told emergency dispatchers the man threatened to kill him.

Ed Troyer’s lawyer: ‘No evidence to support these criminal charges’

Troyer’s attorneys had moved to dismiss the charges, alleging that despite the 911 call and police incident report, the state didn’t have enough evidence.

“As we’ve been saying, the false reporting statute is not designed for this situation,” Troyer’s defense stated. “It’s not designed to criminalize a police officer who calls for backup when they have a legitimate need for help. And that’s what we’re saying is that Sheriff Troyer, regardless of this false reporting statement, had a legitimate need for help. And the state cannot show otherwise.”

The judge said Troyer knew telling dispatchers he was threatened would elicit an emergency response.

“Subsection one defines the base offense of false reporting by including a list of elements with knowledge that the information reported can fit conveyed or circulated as false,” the prosecution argued. “A person initiates or circulates a false report or warning of an alleged occurrence or impending occurrence, knowing that such false report is likely to cause an emergency response.”

Prosecutors won the argument that charges should go to a jury for a decision.

Last week, Tacoma Police Officer Chad Lawless took the witness stand, with Lawless stating he asked Troyer if Altheimer had threatened him — which he denied repeatedly.

Tacoma officer: Troyer said newspaper carrier did not threaten him

The trial is expected to continue through this week.

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Troyer trial: Judge denies motion to dismiss false reporting charge