Pierce County is facing a federal lawsuit filed by a newspaper reporter involved in a controversial January confrontation with Sheriff Ed Troyer.
The lawsuit alleges that Troyer violated carrier Cedric Altheimer’s constitutional rights by prompting a massive police reaction to tell the emergency dispatcher that Altheimer had threatened to kill him.
Troyer retracted death threats after being questioned by a Tacoma police officer, which led to the state attorney general’s office last week charging him with misconduct related to false reporting and false statements to a government official.
Troyer denied wrongdoing and called the charges politically motivated. Lawyers representing him and Pierce County did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The federal lawsuit alleges that Troyer’s actions on the night of January 27 – calling the police after tracking down Altheimer, who is Black, in his personal SUV and failing to identify himself as a law enforcement officer – amounted to “a false report, an unreasonable search and seizure “. false arrest and malicious prosecution. “
Altheimer was not arrested that night, but he was searched and interrogated by the police.
“Mr. Altheimer has had to make drastic changes in both his work and his personal life due to the trauma he faced as a result of harassment and police arrest caused by false accusations of Sheriff Troyer,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also alleges that Troyer acted out of “racial animosity” and “reckless disregard for Mr. Altheimer’s civil rights.”
Troyer, who is white, said he did not know Altheimer’s race when he started chasing him on January 27, saying that he left the house and jumped into his SUV because he saw what he thought was next door. was a suspicious car.
The lawsuit was quietly filed last month in the King County Supreme Court and transferred to the US District Court last week at the request of a Pierce County attorney.
He seeks damages for emotional stress and injury, as well as fines and attorney fees.
In June, Altheimer filed a tort tort suit against Pierce County as a harbinger of a lawsuit, claiming at least $ 5 million.
In addition to the lawsuit and criminal charges, Pierce County Council is expected to receive a report detailing the results of another investigation into Troyer’s conduct as early as Tuesday.
This report by former US Attorney Brian Moran is expected to focus on whether Troyer violated the department’s ethical standards and policies, and recommends possible sanctions if violations are found.
Troyer was called to resign after the January 27 incident was publicly reported in March. He refused to resign and promised to fight the charges against him.
“We can either have a safe community where the police are allowed to do their job, or we can handcuff the police and the criminals are released,” he said in a statement last week in response to allegations of wrongdoing. “I ask for your support in confronting the hooligans in power.”