Exclusive: Sheriff Troyer acquitted, says governor, AG were ‘coming after me’

Dec 14, 2022, 9:00 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 2:22 pm

Troyer trial arrest...

On the stand Thursday, Ed Troyer testified that newspaper carrier Sedrick Altheimer said he was going “to take me out, and he didn’t mean take me out to dinner." (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

Less than an hour after a six-person jury unanimously found Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer not guilty of two misdemeanors involving false reporting, Troyer told KIRO Newsradio that he relied on the nearly two-week trial to “show what the truth is.”

In an exclusive Wednesday afternoon interview minutes following the verdict, Troyer told KIRO’s Dori Monson that he pushed back against Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson despite the toll it took on the 800 Pierce County Sheriff’s Department staff and his own family.

“They offered me a deal: They wanted me to plead guilty to both counts and resign,” Troyer told Dori about the case waged against him by the state of Washington.

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer found not guilty on all counts

“I said ‘no way.’ I wanted to talk to a jury. I put my hands in the fate of the jury,” Troyer continued.  “Once they heard the facts and got all the information, we got the verdict that we were going for even though the attorney general, the governor – the most powerful people in the state were coming after me.”

Troyer praised his attorney, Anne Bremner, and legal advisors for the courtroom victory.

Meanwhile, the Pierce County Sheriff acknowledged that the near two-year legal case was emotional “not only for me – as I’m built for this,” but also for his department and his family.

While waiting for the trial, Troyer said his family “endured feeling like hostages in our own house for five or six months” while “rioters and picketers” camped outside their home. Threatening letters from Gov. Inslee’s office and a legal team from Ferguson “turned my life upside down,” he added.

The misdemeanor case against him stemmed from a January 2021 incident, when Troyer called an emergency dispatcher in the middle of the night after an unidentified vehicle was spotted driving in his Tacoma neighborhood. When Troyer came out from his home to investigate, he called emergency dispatchers.

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The state of Washington filed charges in October 2021, claiming the three-decade law enforcement officer had misleadingly told responding officers and dispatchers that the Black delivery driver had threatened him.

The deliveryman, Sedrick Altheimer, denied making threats. During the trial, Tacoma Police incident reports showed Altheimer refused to identify himself as a newspaper deliveryman during the encounter and that Troyer later dismissed any threat by Altheimer once he was learned the man was on a newspaper route.

“I never walked back or recounted anything,” Troyer said. That, he claimed, was created by the first story on the case, published in The Seattle Times. “I specifically said at the scene, if he’s (Altheimer) working and doing his papers, my feelings aren’t hurt … then let him go do his job.”

Troyer said that is specifically what “the media has left out” from the original Tacoma Police report.

Blasting back at some in local news media, Inslee, and Ferguson, Troyer told Dori that he called in defense attorney Anne Bremner when the state proposed what he called a “deal breaker.”

Troyer trial: Judge denies motion to dismiss false reporting charge

“They wanted you to admit to some level of racism if you pleaded guilty?” Dori asked of state claims against Troyer.

“That was the absolute deal-breaker,” Troyer said. A foster parent for children of color, Troyer told Dori that some in his family are Native Americans, and that he also has a “grandson of color, my wife is Pacific Islander, (and) I’m pretty much the only white guy,” in his family.

“I always said I was not going to placate the media or the AG’s office,” Troyer told Dori, despite threats from AG Ferguson’s office.

Instead, Troyer claimed the “death threats” claim was “created by The Seattle Times” in their initial reporting. He told Dori he has “no animosity against the Tacoma Police Department” but believes that it was “media in the state that turned this into an incident.”

Troyer praised his legal team, his staff, and his family “who have come alongside me through the whole entire thing” during his only post-trial interview.

On Thursday, the sheriff added, he plans to do an extended exclusive interview on The Dori Monson Show about the trial, local “Defund the Police” movements, and initiatives that would allow city leaders – and not voters – to choose county sheriffs and city police chiefs in Washington state.

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Exclusive: Sheriff Troyer acquitted, says governor, AG were ‘coming after me’