Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer was ordered to post $100,000 bail while he awaits trial on false-reporting charges related to his controversial confrontation last year with a Black newspaper carrier.

Judge Jeffrey Jahns on Friday imposed the bail — 10 times the amount requested by prosecutors — during a dramatic hearing in Pierce County District Court in Tacoma, revoking Troyer’s earlier release on personal recognizance.

Jahns initially ordered the sheriff be taken into custody until he posted the cash or bond — telling him, “Mr. Troyer, you are not free to leave this courtroom” — drawing an angry objection from Troyer’s attorney, John Sheeran.

“What you are looking to do is a perp walk!” Sheeran said, accusing Jahns of seeking to humiliate the sheriff.

Jahns relented only after Troyer’s attorney produced a bail agency representative in the courtroom, who said bail would immediately be posted.

In his scathing ruling from the bench, Jahns pointed to testimony that Troyer had willfully violated his conditions of pretrial release by repeatedly contacting Sedrick Altheimer, the newspaper carrier, over the past several months, and ripped Troyer’s testimony about the incidents as “not credible” and “false or misleading.”


Jahns found that Troyer represented “a substantial danger to the community, especially Mr. Altheimer,” and said there was a likelihood that Troyer would “seek to intimidate witnesses and otherwise seek to interfere with the administration of justice.”

Jahns pointed to Troyer’s status as the top law enforcement official in Pierce County, saying Altheimer, as a Black man in his 20s, would have every reason to fear for his safety due to Troyer’s actions.

“Mr. Altheimer is not a powerful man,” Jahns said. “Mr. Troyer is one of the most powerful men in Pierce County.”

In an emailed statement Friday evening, Sheeran criticized the bail decision.

“Sheriff Troyer did nothing to warrant the court imposing bail today and when compared to a number of heinous crimes charged in Pierce County this week the amount was clearly excessive,” Sheeran said. He pointed, for example, to a man charged Thursday with second-degree rape whose bail was set at $50,000.

Troyer, wearing a gray suit, did not speak during the 2½-hour hearing, at times looking stunned or pained as Jahns called him out as deceitful and dangerous.


At one point, Jahns talked about possibly ordering Troyer to turn over his guns, saying he believed the sheriff might harm Altheimer. He pointed to sordid chapters of Pierce County law enforcement history, such as Tacoma police Chief David Brame, who in 2003 used his service weapon to kill his wife and then himself in front of their children.

“Violence by the head of a law enforcement agency has occurred in Pierce County in the past. It’s not an academic discussion,” Jahns said.

Troyer faces criminal gross misdemeanor charges of false reporting and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant over his Jan. 27, 2021, confrontation with Altheimer, who was delivering newspapers on his regular route.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Detective Ed Troyer answers questions during a news conference, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Tacoma, Wash. Troyer was talking about the case of Juliette Parker, who pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of assault and attempted kidnapping in Pierce County Superior Court, and is accused of posing as a baby photographer in a plot to steal an infant. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Troyer, in his personal SUV, had followed Altheimer before the two wound up in a 2 a.m. standoff. Troyer called an emergency dispatcher, claiming Altheimer was threatening to kill him, resulting in a massive multiagency police response.

Upon questioning by Tacoma police, Troyer backed off his threat accusations, according to an incident report made public months later. Altheimer was detained and interrogated, but not arrested, and said he feared for his life during the late-night confrontation and police response.

Ever since the encounter became public, Troyer has faced heated criticism and calls for his resignation from civil rights and community groups and some elected leaders. A longtime veteran of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Troyer was elected sheriff in November 2020. He has rejected calls to step down and defended his actions, saying he did nothing wrong and is the victim of an anti-cop political witch hunt.


Prosecutors with the state Attorney General’s Office last month filed a motion asking that Troyer be required to post $10,000 bail after a judge imposed an anti-harassment order against the sheriff over allegations he had tailed Altheimer on multiple occasions over the past several months.

In issuing the anti-harassment order, Pierce County District Court Pro Tem Judge Christine Chin cited testimony by Altheimer that Troyer had followed him in his unmarked white Tahoe, circling around and flashing his lights as he delivered newspapers in Tacoma. Chin’s order required Troyer to stay at least 1,000 feet away from Altheimer.

Troyer denied those incidents had occurred and said he had only run into Altheimer once in recent months, in April while visiting his elderly father, to whom Altheimer was delivering a newspaper late at night. He acknowledged speaking with Altheimer but claimed he didn’t initially recognize him that night.

In his ruling Friday, Jahns, a visiting judge from Kitsap County, said he found Troyer’s statements about that encounter to be not at all credible, noting Troyer was sitting in his vehicle outside his father’s house.

“It is not reasonable to believe Mr. Troyer would not recognize Mr. Altheimer by sight,” he said, saying Troyer’s testimony “makes absolutely no sense.”

Jahn’s bail decision and his other remarks — he mused at one point whether he could suspend Troyer from his job or require him to be electronically monitored — seemed to come as a surprise even to prosecutors.


John Hillman, chief of the criminal division for the Attorney General’s Office, did not suggest bail any higher than the $10,000 requested, though he did argue that imposition of bail was important “to send a message to the defendant that intimidation of witnesses is not going to be tolerated by the court.”

Altheimer has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Pierce County, seeking at least $5 million in damages.

If convicted on the false-reporting and false-statement charges, Troyer could face a standard sentencing range of up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine on each count, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

A trial in the case is scheduled for October.

A conviction could also jeopardize Troyer’s position as sheriff, due to a provision in state law that says any public official convicted of a felony or “malfeasance in office” must forfeit their position. While Troyer is not facing a felony charge, it’s unclear whether a false-reporting conviction could be deemed malfeasance under the law.

Jahns suggested Troyer’s job could be at stake, saying, “Mr. Troyer has much to lose if convicted.”