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Khalif v. Weyker

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 9, 2017

HEATHER WEYKER, in her individual capacity as a St. Paul Police Officer; JOHN BANDEMER, in his individual and official capacities as a St. Paul Police Sergeant; ROBERT ROES 1-3, in their individual and official capacities as supervisory members of the St. Paul Police Department; THE CITY OF ST. PAUL, Defendants.




         Plaintiff Abdigadir Ahmed Khalif alleges violations of his constitutional rights in an investigation that led to his indictment by a federal grand jury and his eventual 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 Khalif'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. 47. 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.

         The investigation at the core of Khalif's civil complaint primarily targeted a suspected venture involving the sex-trafficking of minor girls. The investigation resulted in the criminal indictment of thirty people, mostly Somali, in the Middle District of Tennessee in 2010-2011 (“Tennessee Case”). Khalif alleges that Weyker fabricated evidence about the fictional sex-trafficking ring throughout the investigation, resulting in a tainted indictment and causing Khalif's arrest and detention. Unlike many of his co-defendants in the Tennessee Case, Khalif was not indicted in any of the sex-trafficking-related charges, only on a fraud-related charge. Moreover, unlike many of his co-defendants, Khalif was not arrested in Fall 2010 after an indictment and a First Superseding Indictment were returned, because he went into hiding until July 2012, when he turned himself in and was released on electronic home monitoring.

         Nineteen of Khalif's co-defendants in the Tennessee Case bring separate suits also 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. Khalif 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. 51; Osman Pls.' Opp. to DOJ Mot. to Dismiss (“Osman DOJ Opp.”), Dkt. No. 57.

         The Court held a hearing on Defendants' motions on May 3, 2017, and now grants both motions.[1]


         A 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. 3-4.


         Many of Khalif's 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 Khalif's First Amended Complaint and facts from the Tennessee Case record documents.[2]

         On October 20, 2010, an Indictment was filed in the Tennessee Case, charging Khalif with two counts. Count 18 charged Khalif with violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(1)-(a)(3) by conspiring to commit credit card fraud from around 2007 through September 2010. Indictment (“Ind't”), United States v. Khalif, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 3 ¶¶ 117-50 (M.D. Tenn. Oct. 20, 2010); see also FAC ¶ 12. Count 19 charged him with violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(c)(1) and 1512(b)(3) by conspiring to destroy evidence in connection with the acts alleged as to Count 18. Ind't ¶¶ 151-53.

         In November 2010, a First Superseding Indictment was filed in the Tennessee Case, after which many of Khalif's co-defendants were arrested. See FAC ¶ 13. Because Khalif “was not present in Minnesota at the time the sex-trafficking arrests were being conducted, ” FAC ¶ 15, “knew that the sex-trafficking charges and the overarching allegation of massive conspiracy were false, ” FAC ¶ 16, and “was concerned that his portrayed connection to the sex-trafficking ring could create a possibility of detention, ” he “did not turn himself in to authorities immediately, ” FAC ¶ 18. Instead, he went into hiding for approximately 20 months. FAC ¶ 38.

         Nine of Khalif's co-defendants in the Tennessee Case eventually went to trial on four sex-trafficking-related charges in a Second Superseding Indictment, none of which were counts in which Khalif was named. FAC ¶ 36; see also United States v. Adan, 913 F.Supp.2d 555 (M.D. Tenn. 2012). The Second Superseding Indictment, like the previous indictments, charged Khalif in Counts 18 and 19. See DOJ Br. Ex. B, Dkt. No. 42-1. In May 2012, the jury acquitted six defendants of all charges on which they were tried, and post-trial, the district court granted the other three defendants' Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 motions on the basis of a variance. FAC ¶ 37; see also Adan, 913 F.Supp.2d at 560, 579.

         The jury's acquittals prompted Khalif to turn himself in on July 10, 2012. FAC ¶ 38. “Likely due to the trial revelations (i.e., that Weyker had fabricated evidence and that the witnesses were unworthy of belief), ” the district court “did not retain Khalif in in-custody ...

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