United States District Court, D. Minnesota
N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Abdifatah Bashir Jama alleges violations of his
constitutional rights in an investigation that led to his
indictment by a federal grand jury and his subsequent arrest.
He sues Defendants Heather Weyker, a police officer for the
St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota; John Bandemer, a St.
Paul Police Department sergeant who is alleged to have been
Weyker's supervisor; Robert Roes 1-3, who are allegedly
supervisory St. Paul police officers; and the City of St.
Paul (“St. Paul”). Weyker and Bandemer move to
dismiss Jama's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim and on
absolute and qualified immunity grounds. Dkt. No. 39. St.
Paul moves on behalf of the City of St. Paul and Robert Roes
1-3 for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c).
Dkt. No. 45.
investigation at the core of Jama's civil complaint
targeted a suspected venture involving the sex-trafficking of
minor girls across Minnesota, Tennessee, and Ohio. The
investigation resulted in the criminal indictment of thirty
people, mostly Somali, in the Middle District of Tennessee in
2010-2011 (“Tennessee Case”). Jama alleges that
Weyker fabricated evidence about him and others throughout
the investigation, resulting in a tainted indictment that was
further corrupted by Weyker's continuing deception, and
causing his arrest and detention without probable cause.
of Jama's co-defendants in the Tennessee Case bring
separate suits similarly alleging constitutional violations,
and a twenty-first person brings another related civil suit.
The parties agreed to coordinated briefing on the
Defendants' motions. The Court assumes familiarity with
its fuller opinion in one of the related cases, Osman v.
Weyker, et al., No. 16cv908 (“Osman
Opinion”) (filed simultaneously herewith), and will not
repeat that opinion's discussion verbatim here, given the
overlap in allegations and arguments. Jama is represented by
the same attorneys as the plaintiff in that case, and their
attorneys filed consolidated opposition papers to the
Defendants' motions. See Osman Pls.' Opp. to
St. Paul Mot., Dkt. No. 50; Osman Pls.' Opp. to DOJ Mot.
to Dismiss (“Osman DOJ Opp.”), Dkt. No. 56.
Court held a hearing on Defendants' motions on May 3,
2017, and now grants both motions.
motion to dismiss or a motion for judgment on the pleadings
is appropriately granted “only when there is no dispute
as to any material facts and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a [m]atter of law.” Greenman v.
Jessen, 787 F.3d 882, 887 (8th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). To survive a Rule 12 motion, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); Haney v. Portfolio Recovery
Assocs., LLC, 837 F.3d 918, 924 (8th Cir. 2016), as
amended (Dec. 27, 2016). See also Osman Op.
the salient allegations are similar to those alleged by Osman
and summarized and analyzed in the Court's order in that
case. See, e.g., Osman Op. 4-8. The Court briefly
recounts some allegations in Jama's First Amended
Complaint and other facts gleaned from the Tennessee Case
2008, Jama lived in Nashville, Tennessee. FAC ¶ 10. That
year, Weyker “approached Jama and tried to pressure him
to implicate members of the Somali community in various
alleged crimes.” FAC ¶ 12. “When Jama
declined, Weyker threatened to have him prosecuted for the
same alleged crimes, some of the most serious involving Jane
Does One and Two.” Id. Jama did not know Jane
Doe One or Jane Doe Two. FAC ¶¶ 11, 16.
Superseding Indictment (“FSI”) was filed in the
Tennessee Case on November 3, 2010, naming 29
defendants. United States v. Jama, No.
3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 36 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 3, 2010) (submitted
in this civil case as Ex. V in support of Weyker and
Bandemer's Reply). The indictment alleged that Jama was
an associate of members of two related Minneapolis-based
gangs. FSI ¶ 1(f). It charged Jama with four counts: two
counts of participation in a sex-trafficking conspiracy in
violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a) and 1594 (Counts
1 and 2); knowingly recruiting a minor under the age of 14
(Jane Doe One) for sex trafficking (Count 11); and conspiring
to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce (Count 15).
More specifically, the indictment in Count 1 charged that
from October 2006 through June 2007, Jane Doe One, who was 14
or 15 years old, was transported from Minnesota to Columbus,
Ohio, where Jama and others caused her to engage in
commercial sex acts, FSI ¶ 9; and that sometime between
April 1 and June 2, 2008, Jama and another
“directed” Jane Doe One to a residence in
Seattle, Washington, where she was sexually assaulted, FSI
¶ 10. Count 15 alleged that on May 22, 2006, Jama and
three other co-defendants stole approximately $120, 000 in
cash, among other things, from a Nashville business and that
the next day, one of the co-defendants transported the stolen
cash to Minnesota, FSI ¶¶ 102-03; and on September
13 and 15, 2006, after Jama and others traveled to Columbus
“for the purpose of burglarizing businesses to obtain
money and merchandise, ” members of the group stole
over $8, 000 worth of cash and phone cards and entered
without permission another business to steal money, FSI
“crux” of the “several conspiracy counts
under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2; 371; 1591(a)(1), and
2314” was that Jama “was engaged in a conspiracy
to recruit and transport minors for the purpose of engaging
in commercial sex acts.” FAC ¶ 24. “No such
conspiracy existed, and Defendants knew it.”
November 8, 2010, Jama was arrested. FAC ¶ 25. As with
Osman, because the indictment charged Jama with
sex-trafficking-related offenses, he was subject to a
rebuttable presumption of pretrial detention. FAC ¶ 27.
He was ordered detained pending trial. Id.
was the lead investigator on the case. FAC ¶ 34. Weyker
“manipulated, coerced and pressured Jane Doe One into
fabricating evidence and testimony that Jama and others were
forcing her [to] have sex in exchange for money in December
of 2005.” FAC ¶ 42. Jane Doe One never appeared at
trial, “refus[ing] to give the coerced, false testimony
at trial.” FAC ¶¶ 30, 47. “Weyker also
manipulated and coerced two Somali males, whose identities
are known to Plaintiff, into falsely implicating Jama in the
conspiracy allegations.” FAC ¶ 28.
of some defendants on some counts began in Spring 2012. Jama
alleges that the “charges surrounding” the
allegation that he “caused Jane Doe One to engage in
commercial sex acts for which [Jama and others] received
things of value” were “dismissed during jury
selection.” FAC ¶ 30. This allegation appears to
be corroborated on the Tennessee Case record. See United
States v. Jama, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 2432 (M.D. Tenn.
Apr. 26, 2012). Earlier, the district court had ordered the
severance of Count 15 and other counts for a separate trial.
Id., Dkt. No. 1395 (Feb. 16, 2012 order).
jury reached a verdict in the Spring 2012 trial in early May,
acquitting six defendants but convicting three defendants on
some counts. On May 18, 2012, Jama was released from custody
on bond, subject to continuing pretrial restraints. FAC
district court in December 2012 issued an order granting the
three convicted defendants' Federal Criminal Rule of
Procedure 29 motions for judgments of acquittal on the basis
of a variance. The government appealed that order.
after Jama was released on conditions, “Weyker's
harassment was relentless;” she pressured him to
“provide false evidence against” the
co-defendants. FAC ¶ 50. Jama refused, and he “was
ultimately arrested again” in August 2014. Id.
He was then held in custody pending trial, which was stayed
pending the appeals stemming from the Spring 2012 ...