Washington state officials are taking action against a local sheriff after investigating profiling a Black newspaper carrier. But local activists say that’s not enough. The Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance wants Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer to resign.
“Sheriff Troyer’s statements to witnesses that night—that Mr. Altheimer was trying to kill him and used his vehicle as a weapon—are flags to other officers that they should arrive on the scene ready to use deadly force,” the statement read. “There is only one conclusion we can draw from that: Sheriff Troyer intended to do harm to Mr. Altheimer, who was doing nothing more than delivering the newspaper.”
According to the statement, the Department of Justice is reviewing a complaint filed by the group against Troyer. In January, Troyer followed Sedrick Altheimer, a Black newspaper carrier, without just cause or provocation.
Body camera footage shared by The News Tribune shows an exasperated Altheimer just asking to be left alone so he can do his job.
“I’m a Black male in a white neighborhood, and I’m working,” he exclaimed. An officer approaching Altheimer tells him to keep his hands on the steering wheel and says they will figure things out. Clearly distressed and just trying to complete his route, Altheimer again shouts he’s just working.
The News Tribune also reported Troyer was indignant about the charges claiming he has never had a claim substantiated against him or had an allegation of racial or gender discrimination filed against him. But never having a claim filed doesn’t mean his actions have always been above board.
The charges against Troyer aren’t even directly for harassment or racial profiling but for filing a false report and lying to a public officer. After an investigation into the incident, Troyer’s case was referred to the attorney general for consideration in April, three months after the initial incident.
If convicted, Troyer could get hit with a fine of up to $5,000 and potentially serve less than a year in jail. According to the Associated Press, Pierce County is the state’s second larges county by population. Troyer was just elected last November, previously serving as the agency’s spokesperson.
This incident could’ve gone really wrong with the heavy police presence and a senior law enforcement veteran alleging his life was in danger. From news reports, Troyer lied and said Altheimer repeatedly threatened to kill him but later retracted his claim to an officer on the scene.
Local news KIRO 7 reported over 40 law enforcement vehicles responded to the scene after the sheriff claimed someone threatened to kill him. He later told responding officers it wasn’t true.
Exonerated! Wrongly Convicted Black Folks Whose Names Have Been Cleared
1. Kevin Strickland, exonerated after wrongful conviction for murderSource:GoFundMe/Tricia Rojo Bushnell 1 of 18
2. Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil IslamSource:Getty 2 of 18
3. Juwan Deering3 of 18
4. Herbert Alford
4 of 18
A Michigan man who spent nearly five years in custody is suing Hertz for failing to produce in a timely manner a receipt that would have proved his innocence long before he was convicted of a 2011 murder. https://t.co/kZaI5tdOv4— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 12, 2021
5. Walter Forbes
5 of 18
“I don’t hold contempt for the people who lied to convict me ... The reason is selfish: I wasn’t going to allow them to destroy me," said Walter Forbes, freed and exonerated last week after 37 years with the help of @UofMInnocence. https://t.co/WfanIitchU— The Innocence Project (@innocence) December 14, 2020
6. Termaine Joseph Hicks
6 of 18
An innocent Philadelphia man has been freed after spending 19 years in prison because two police officers wrongly claimed he’d raped a woman and then shot at them, when he’d in fact saved her from a different man .Attorneys for Termaine Joseph Hicks claim cops made up the story . pic.twitter.com/FJp5DQUMoQ— HJ (Hank) Ellison (@hjtherealj) December 18, 2020
7. Clifford Williams, Nathan Myers
7 of 18
After a combined 86 years incarcerated for a crime they did not commit, Clifford Williams Jr. and his nephew, Nathan Myers, were exonerated and released last week! Mr. Myers was 18 when he was arrested and is now 61. Mr. Williams was 33 and is now 76. https://t.co/EH2qPCspEj— Equal Justice Initiative (@eji_org) April 5, 2019
8. Calvin BrightSource:WUSA9 8 of 18
9. Kevin Baker, Sean Washington
9 of 18
Kevin Baker and Sean Washington received life terms in 1996 that were overturned on appeal in December https://t.co/MSWoxkwPzi— Courier-Post (@cpsj) February 4, 2020
10. Theophalis Wilson
10 of 18
Theophalis Wilson was 17-years-old when he was falsely accused of a triple murder in Philadelphia and sentenced to life in prison. Now, 28 years later, he finally has his freedom. He spoke with @KeithJones https://t.co/mVDISp68hy pic.twitter.com/RQ2pEdZBfM— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) January 22, 2020
11. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart
11 of 18
And they are out: Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart walk out of the Baltimore city courthouse after 36 yrs for a crime they didn’t do: pic.twitter.com/5UDGWMZmOB— Tom Jackman (@TomJackmanWP) November 25, 2019
12. Deandre Charles12 of 18
13. Exonerated Five - Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise13 of 18
14. Anthony Ray Hinton
14 of 18
Name: Anthony Ray Hinton, who was on Alabama’s Death Row for nearly 30 years for a murder he didn’t commit. In 2018, he wrote about his experience in the NYT bestseller, The Sun Does Shine.— City of Birmingham (@cityofbhamal) October 4, 2019
Occupation: Works in community education with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery pic.twitter.com/EwiaJueimb
15. Lamar Johnson15 of 18
16. Wilbert Jones
16 of 18
Louisiana man freed from prison after serving 43 years for a crime he did not commit. Wilbert Jones was arrested in 1971 at the age of 19 and convicted of rape in 1974. A judge overturned his conviction weeks ago. He still had to pay $2,000 bail before becoming a free man today. pic.twitter.com/LYV4gbTPOf— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) November 15, 2017
17. Xavier DavisSource:Courtesy of Xavier Davis 17 of 18
18. Huwe Burton
18 of 18
2,372nd Exon: Huwe Burton was convicted in 1991 for stabbing his mother to death when he was 16. He was exonerated on Jan 24th after an investigation showed that his confession was coerced and that his mother's real killer was likely a downstairs neighbor. https://t.co/TM3f76moQ5 pic.twitter.com/rsU1NlPr2y— Exoneration Registry (@exonerationlist) February 4, 2019