Washington governor calls for investigation of sheriff

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday directed the state attorney general to open a criminal investigation into a county sheriff’s confrontation with a Black newspaper carrier.

The Seattle Times reports that Inslee asked for a probe of whether Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer made a false report on Jan. 27, when he called a police dispatcher repeatedly saying that 24-year-old Sedrick Altheimer was threatening to kill him.

Altheimer had been delivering newspapers on his regular route in Troyer’s neighborhood when he was followed by the sheriff, who was driving his personal vehicle.

Troyer’s 2 a.m. call to emergency dispatchers triggered a large police response, but on questioning by Tacoma police, he retreated from his claim that he’d been threatened by Altheimer, according to an incident report.

Tacoma police body camera video shows Altheimer repeatedly telling police he had made no threats. “He’s lying. He’s lying. So what happens to him?” Altheimer asks officers in the video.

Troyer, who is white, has said he violated no laws or department policies. Troyer faces a separate noncriminal investigation requested by the Pierce County Council.

Inslee said that probe was not sufficient.

“The initial reports of these events were very concerning to me, and I had hoped to see some action taken to initiate a criminal investigation at the local level,” Inslee said in a statement. “So now the state is stepping in. I have spoken to Attorney General (Bob) Ferguson and his office will conduct this investigation.”