Pierce County Investigation Report: Sheriff Ed Troyer violated policies during meeting with newspaper porter


An investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran found Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer “violated policies and standards” during a January meeting when he said he confused a carrier. black newspaper with a prowler and had made an emergency call triggering a massive police response to his Tacoma neighborhood.

“We are unable to substantiate Sheriff Troyer’s assertion that Mr. Altheimer threatened to kill or harm him during this incident,” read a summary of Moran’s 48-page report. “We also find that a reasonable person could conclude that Sheriff Troyer displayed an inappropriate bias in his confrontation with Mr. Altheimer.”

The findings, delivered to Pierce County Council on Tuesday, concluded that Troyer committed the civil violations using a “preponderance of the standard of proof.”

Moran’s investigation is a separate civil investigation from a criminal investigation by the attorney general’s office, which last week indicted Troyer with two counts of misrepresentation.

Pierce County Council hired Moran to conduct an investigation in April, after news reports detailed Troyer’s Jan.27 meeting with a black newspaper porter that sparked a massive response from police in the Borough area. Sheriff of the West End in Tacoma.

Among other things, the board ordered Moran to resolve the disputed facts and versions of the January 27 incident and investigate whether the sheriff abused his authority and violated criminal laws or policies, standards or civil regulations.

During the incident, Troyer, who is white, said he mistook the transporter, Sedrick Altheimer, 24, for a prowler and called a police-only emergency line to report that Altheimer threatened to kill him.

Dispatchers classified Troyer’s report as a high priority “officer needs help” call, triggering more than 40 police cars from across the county to rush to the scene. The Tacoma police, who arrived first, canceled the large-scale intervention. After an officer questioned him, Troyer reconsidered his claims that Altheimer had threatened him, according to a police incident report.

Troyer has since maintained he was threatened, but says he did not want to press charges. Tacoma Police upheld their incident report.

Moran’s findings are the latest in a series of recent actions linked to the January meeting. Last week, the office of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson indicted Troyer with two counts of misrepresenting and misrepresenting an official. On Monday, lawyers for Altheimer filed a federal civil rights complaint over the incident against Pierce County.

Neither Altheimer nor Troyer were questioned for the investigation, although the report says investigators looked at the statements each man had previously given.

Troyer, a longtime deputy and public face of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, said in April he welcomed an outside investigation into the case. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

In a statement released last week, Troyer, who was elected sheriff in November 2020, pledged to fight criminal charges and said he had been unfairly targeted by Ferguson, whom he accused of having tried to “deselect” it.

“My job is to protect the citizens of Pierce County and that is what I have done for 37 years and that is what I will continue to do,” the statement said. “… As State Attorney General Bob Ferguson does not protect citizens, he creates more crimes with a false narrative and causes division in our communities and holds criminals accountable. “

As part of the investigation, Moran’s team at the Seattle law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe conducted their own interviews, reviewed AG’s office interview summaries, visited sites, and reviewed numerous documents, video and audio recordings. The findings of the six-month investigation were presented to the board on Tuesday.

The board released the report on Tuesday afternoon, but said in a statement members were still reviewing it.

“Because we have just received the report, members need time to review the information,” Council Chairman Derek Young said in a statement on Tuesday. “Once we have processed the information, we will look at potential next steps to determine how the Council wishes to proceed. “


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