A July 11 trial date has been set for Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer on two misdemeanor charges related to his controversial January confrontation with a Black newspaper carrier.

Troyer was charged in October by the state Attorney General’s office with one count of false reporting and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a civil servant for calling in a police response on Sedrick Altheimer, who was delivering newspapers on his regular route in Tacoma on Jan. 26.

After following Altheimer in his personal SUV and winding up in a standoff, Troyer, who is white, told a 911 dispatcher in a 2 a.m. call that Altheimer had threatened to kill him. But he walked back the claim when questioned by a Tacoma police officer, according to an incident report.

During a virtual Zoom hearing in Pierce County District Court on Friday, Judge Jeffrey Jahns OK’d the July start date for what is expected to be a more-than-weeklong trial.

Troyer’s attorneys, John Sheeran and Steve Fogg, had requested the July trial as opposed to a potential earlier date, citing scheduling conflicts and the need to gather evidence.

Appearing at the virtual hearing wearing a suit and tie, Troyer spoke only briefly, acknowledging he was waiving his right to a speedy trial and agreeing to pretrial conditions.

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Troyer was not detained on the misdemeanor charges, but must abide by conditions including refraining from illegal conduct, no contact with Altheimer, and no discussions of the case with law-enforcement witnesses.

Asked by Jahns whether he understood those terms, Troyer replied, “Yes, your honor, I do.”

Assistant attorneys general Melanie Tratnik and Barbara Serrano, who are prosecuting the case, also appeared at the hearing and agreed to the trial date and conditions.

Troyer has denied wrongdoing in the incident, saying he was merely following what he believed to be a suspicious vehicle. He has previously called the criminal charges against him a “politically motivated hit job.”

In addition to the criminal charges, Troyer has faced calls for his resignation and was placed on Pierce County’s “Brady list” of law enforcement officers with credibility issues that could be used to impeach their testimony in criminal cases.

Altheimer has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Troyer and Pierce County seeking millions of dollars in damages.

Jahns, who is presiding over the Troyer case, is a Kitsap County District Judge who was appointed as a visiting judge to oversee the case to avoid any appearances of conflicts of interest among Pierce County judges.

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