Judge: Sheriff must post bail after anti-harassment order

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The sheriff of Pierce County, Washington, 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 hearing in Pierce County District Court in Tacoma, revoking Sheriff Ed Troyer’s earlier release on personal recognizance.

The Seattle Times reports 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.

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

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.

In his 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 called 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.”

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

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.

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