United States District Court, D. Minnesota
N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Abdifatah Sharif Omar 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 A. Omar'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. 40. 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. 46.
investigation at the core of A. Omar'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”). A. Omar 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 A. Omar'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. A. Omar 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.
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 A. Omar's First Amended
Complaint and some facts gleaned from the Tennessee Case
2009, A. Omar lived in Minnesota but spent some time in
Nashville, Tennessee, visiting with his aunt. FAC ¶ 10.
In April 2009, a group of “young Somalis, mostly men
and mostly unknown at the time to Omar, was taken into
custody by the Nashville Police Department, including Jane
Doe Two, ” and Jane Doe Two, after first telling local
detectives one story that did not mention any sex for money,
told Weyker-the lead investigator on the case- that Jane Doe
Two had committed acts of prostitution and sex-trafficking
over the past few days. FAC ¶¶ 19-22, 35. In June
2009, while A. Omar was staying with his aunt, some friends
from Minneapolis came to visit, and because it would have
been too crowded for them all to stay with his aunt, he
rented them a hotel room. FAC ¶ 12. He “had no
intention, desire, or expectation that any commercial sex
acts, nor sex acts with minors take place in the hotel
room” and to the best of his knowledge, “no such
acts took place in the hotel room.” Id.
October 20, 2010 indictment, A. Omar was charged with
multiple crimes, the “thrust” of which “was
that [he] engaged in a conspiracy to recruit and transport
minors for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts,
and to obstruct the investigation thereof.” FAC ¶
25. “No such conspiracy existed, and Defendants knew
it.” Id. The indictment charged A. Omar in
nine counts. See Indictment
(“Ind't”), United States v. Omar,
No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 3 (M.D. Tenn. Oct. 20, 2010). Two
counts alleged participation in a sex-trafficking conspiracy
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a) (Counts 1 and 2).
Three counts, Counts 3, 4, and 19, alleged obstruction of
justice or conspiracy to obstruct justice. More specifically,
Counts 3 and 4 alleged that co-defendant Haji Osman Salad
“spoke to” A. Omar and asked him “to talk
to Jane Doe Two's parents, ” that A. Omar said
“that he would do so, ” and that Salad told him
“to make sure Jane Doe Two's family cannot come to
court.” Ind't ¶ 72; see also
Ind't ¶ 74-75 (similar allegations). Counts 3 and 4
also alleged that A. Omar gave Salad some information about
Salad's phone, which Salad had given to “an
unindicted co-conspirator” for “the purpose of
concealing the cellular phone from law enforcement.”
Ind't ¶¶ 71, 73. In addition, Count 15 charged
A. Omar with conspiring to transport stolen goods in
interstate commerce. Count 16 charged A. Omar with conspiracy
to transport a stolen vehicle across state lines. Count 17
charged him with conspiring to use a fake driver's
license to commit a crime. Finally, Count 18 charged him with
conspiring to commit credit card fraud. A First Superseding
Indictment charged him in the same counts. United States
v. Omar, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 36 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 3,
was arrested in November 2010 after being indicted. FAC
¶ 26. Because of the alleged violations of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1591, he “was subject to presumptive detention
and was ordered detained pending trial.” FAC ¶ 28.
For some period while he awaited trial, A. Omar was released
on home monitoring, but he was held in custody for nearly two
years. FAC ¶ 54.
Omar's utter lack of connection” to the events that
occurred in Nashville in April 2009 involving Jane Doe Two,
he was “indicted in a sex-trafficking conspiracy case
involving that incident based on evidence fabricated by
Weyker.” FAC ¶ 23. “Weyker made the April
2009 trip a cornerstone of her fabricated sex-trafficking
conspiracy.” FAC ¶ 24. The indictment also alleged
that A. Omar rented the hotel room in June 2009 “for
the purpose of facilitating a commercial sex act, ”
which was not true. FAC ¶ 13; see Ind't
¶ 63. “This was the only overt act of any
particularity alleged in conspiracy against Omar regarding
the commercially sex-trafficking of minors.”
Id. “Weyker also manipulated and coerced two
Somali males, whose identities are known to Plaintiff, into
falsely implicating Omar in the sex-trafficking conspiracy
and other allegations.” FAC ¶ 29.
Osman, A. Omar alleges that the charges of a widespread
sex-trafficking conspiracy were baseless and that Weyker
fabricated “the overwhelming majority of the critical
evidence supporting the indictments in this alleged
conspiracy, ” FAC ¶¶ 33-34; that Weyker
manipulated and coerced Jane Doe witnesses, including Jane
Doe One, into lying, FAC ¶¶ 16, 41-43; that Weyker
was motivated to falsify evidence by a desire for glory, FAC
¶ 1; that Weyker “worked with almost no
supervision by her employer and principal” the St. Paul
Police Department, FAC ¶ 45; and that indications of
Weyker's fabrication included her rough notes, questions
surrounding Jane Doe Two's age and her trip to Nashville
in April 2009, the acquittals of nine co-defendants who went
to trial, and remarks about Weyker and the case by the
district and appellate courts in the Tennessee Case, FAC
¶¶ 14-15, 20, 22, 38-39, 49-53, 56.
A. Omar's co-defendants went to trial in Spring 2012, and
the jury rendered its verdict in early May 2012. See
FAC ¶ 47; United States v. Adan, 913 F.Supp.2d
555, 560 (M.D. Tenn. 2012). A. Omar was originally set to
stand trial with these co-defendants, but elected to be tried
later with some other co-defendants. Adan, 913
F.Supp.2d at 559. The jury acquitted six defendants on all
charges, and in December 2012, the district court granted
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 motions for acquittal
by the other three defendants on the basis of a variance.
Adan, 913 F.Supp.2d at 560, 579; see also
FAC ¶ 50. In March 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of
Appeals issued an order affirming the district court's
Rule 29 order. See FAC ¶ 51; United States
v. Fahra, 643 Fed.Appx. 480 (6th Cir. 2016). The federal
charges against A. Omar were then dismissed. FAC ¶ 60.