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State Black Lives Matter Alliance calls for federal oversight of Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer

The Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance is calling on the FBI and DOJ to look into the actions of Ed Troyer following an incident in January.

TACOMA, Wash. — The Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance is looking for accountability on the federal level for Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer following an incident in January between him and a Black newspaper carrier.

The organization released a statement saying they had meetings with officials at the FBI Seattle Field Office over the alliance's complaint filed in April about Troyer. The complaint alleged Troyer engaged in several civil rights violations during the confrontation with Sedrick Altheimer, who was working his paper route on Jan. 27 when Troyer called an internal dispatch number and said Altheimer had threatened to kill him. 

Troyer later retracted the statement when speaking with the Tacoma Police Department. But the call led to more than 40 officers from multiple agencies rushing toward the scene. 

Body camera footage of the incident obtained by KING 5 shows the responding officers interactions with Altheimer, but it does not record any interactions with Troyer.

In the video, Altheimer tells officers that he walked up to Troyer's unmarked car after Troyer had followed him on his route for several blocks.

On Friday, the Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance also filed a new civil rights complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ), stating Troyer violated Altheimer’s Fourth Amendment rights.

The alliance said the appeal to federal authority is necessary due to the lack of oversight for sheriffs.

“Sheriffs are in a unique category all on their own where they are elected,” said Sakara Remmu, lead strategist for the Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance. “So where would we even look to some of the laws we just passed in the state of Washington for police oversight and accountability? The question remains: what would apply to a sheriff?”

Remmu went on to explain that solutions need to be put in place to address the need for oversight for sheriffs, and, if necessary, removal.

“You can’t wait until the next election cycle, you can’t put it on the backs of the people to come up with the resources to come up with an interim remedy to this problem. That’s what we need to have in place going forward,” said Remmu.

The alliance said it's also reaching out to community members to get their stories regarding their interactions with Troyer, saying that his actions in January are part of a larger pattern of behavior that extends as far back as his time working in King County, and it needs to be highlighted.

Last month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee directed the state attorney general to investigate Troyer for potential criminal violations stemming from the incident with Altheimer.