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Newspaper carrier confronted by Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer files $5 million tort claim

Attorneys representing Sedrick Altheimer submitted the tort claim against Pierce County on Tuesday.

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — A Black newspaper carrier who was confronted by Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer filed a legal claim seeking at least $5 million in damages. 

Attorneys representing Sedrick Altheimer submitted the tort claim against Pierce County on Tuesday, contending Troyer’s actions during the Jan. 27 incident violated Altheimer’s constitutional rights and caused him “severe emotional distress.” 

Adam Faber with the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office confirmed they received the claim but would not comment further.

Troyer called a 911 dispatcher on Jan. 27 and told the dispatcher a man parked in front of his house “threatened to kill him,” a statement he later retracted when speaking with the Tacoma Police Department.  

The 911 dispatch call led to over 40 officers from multiple agencies rushing toward the scene.

In April, the Pierce County Council decided to move forward with an investigation. On April 13, the Pierce County Council said former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran would lead the independent investigation on Troyer. 

Investigators will determine the facts of what occurred during the incident. Investigators will also work to determine whether the sheriff misused his authority, broke the law, deviated from law enforcement standards including honesty, or violated any sheriff's department policy or regulation. Investigators will also work to establish whether a misuse of authority, violation of the law or deviation from standards is a pattern of behavior for Troyer, according to items laid out by the council.

If investigators determine there was a misuse of authority or that Troyer broke department policies or criminal law, they will also determine what discipline to recommend and appropriate recommendations for oversight or "other procedures that could prevent or discourage similar misconduct in the future."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee directed the state attorney general to also investigate Troyer for potential criminal violations stemming from the incident in January.

Troyer was elected by voters last November to the position of Pierce County Sheriff. Before the election, he served as spokesperson for the sheriff's department for 19 years, and has been with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department for 35 years.