United States District Court, D. Minnesota
N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Yasin Ahmed Farah 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 Does 1-5, who are
allegedly St. Paul police officers who either supervised or
worked with Weyker on the investigation; Richard Roes 1-5,
who are allegedly federal law enforcement officers who
supervised or worked with Weyker on a child sex-trafficking
“task force” to which she was assigned; and the
City of St. Paul (“St. Paul”). Weyker moves to
dismiss Farah'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. 28. St.
Paul moves on behalf of the City of St. Paul and John Does
1-5 for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c).
Dkt. No. 34.
investigation at the core of Farah's civil complaint
primarily 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”). Farah alleges that Weyker fabricated evidence
about him and others throughout the investigation, resulting
in a tainted indictment that was corrupted by Weyker's
continuing deception, and causing his unlawful arrest and
of Farah'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. Farah
opposed the motions. See Opp. to Weyker Mot. to
Dismiss (“Fed. Opp.”), Dkt. No. 39; Opp. to St.
Paul Mot. (“City Opp.”), Dkt. No. 42.
Court held a hearing on Defendants' motions on May 3,
2017, and now grants in part and denies in part Weyker's
motion and grants St. Paul's motion.
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 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 Farah's Amended Complaint
and some facts gleaned from the Tennessee Case
summer and fall of 2009, Farah, “who was then 18 years
old, living at home with his parents and had no juvenile or
criminal record, visited MySpace.com on the Internet,
including the MySpace page of” Jane Doe Two. Compl.
¶ 9. Farah “found Jane Doe 2 attractive and became
interested in meeting her in the hope of forming a social
relationship with her.” Compl. ¶ 10. “To
that end, ” during this time frame, Farah emailed Jane
Doe Two more than once through MySpace “suggesting that
they get together and ‘hang out.'”
Id. Apparently not having success in catching her
attention, “[t]o try to elicit Jane Doe 2's
interest in him, Farah told her in one of the e-mail messages
he sent to Jane Doe 2 on November 4, 2009 that he had a
‘good mission' for her . . . .” Compl. ¶
11. In a message he sent on November 9, 2009, Farah wrote
that he “did not wish to describe” the
“mission” on MySpace “and that she would
find out about the ‘mission' when she met
him.” Id. Jane Doe Two never accepted
Farah's proposal to get together, and the two never met
in person. Compl. ¶ 13.
Farah sent his November 4 and 9, 2009 e-mails to Jane Doe 2,
it was a common idiom among young Somalis to describe the
purpose or agenda of any informal social gathering or meeting
as the ‘mission' for that occasion.” Compl.
November 2009, Weyker visited Farah and interviewed him.
See Compl. ¶¶ 14-15. She “asked if
he was friends or acquainted with a number of other young
Somali men from Minneapolis (who later became other
defendants in the [Tennessee Case]), ” and he
acknowledged that he was acquainted with a number of the
identified individuals through school or the tight-knit
Somali community in Minneapolis. Compl. ¶ 14. He
truthfully informed her that he did not consider any of these
individuals to be close friends and that he had spent
“almost no time socializing with any of them.”
Id. Weyker also asked Farah what he had meant in his
earlier emails to Jane Doe Two by the term
“mission.” Compl. ¶ 15. “Farah
truthfully told Weyker that it merely meant that he wanted to
get together with Jane Doe 2 and ‘hang out.'”
January 2010, Farah was subpoenaed to testify before a grand
jury in Nashville, Tennessee, and he complied. Compl. ¶
16. He testified truthfully, providing substantially the same
answers to questions that were substantially the same as
Weyker's questions to him in November 2009. Id.
was arrested on November 8, 2010, pursuant to a First
Superseding Indictment (“FSI”) in the Tennessee
Case. See Compl. ¶ 17; FSI, United States
v. Farah, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 36 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 3,
2010). That indictment charged him with obstruction of
justice in three counts. See Compl. ¶ 1. Count
5 alleged that in his January 27, 2010, testimony before the
grand jury, Farah:
knowingly did make a false material declaration, that is to
say: “To see her, you know.” and “It is
like, ‘let's hang out.' If you ask me, to me,
that is equivalent of ‘let's hang
FSI ¶ 83. It alleged that the grand jury was
investigating whether a sex-trafficking conspiracy in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591 had occurred, and that
“[i]t was material to said investigation that the grand
jury ascertain the meaning of the word ‘mission' as
used by [Farah].” FSI ¶ 84. Count 5 concludes that
Farah's testimony was false in that he “knew that
the word ‘mission' as used with the recipient of
his message did not mean ‘let's hang
out'.” FSI ¶ 86. Count 6 also alleges
obstruction of justice by Farah based on his January 27,
2010, testimony before the grand jury, and Count 7 similarly
alleges obstruction of the enforcement of 18 U.S.C. §
1591 based on the same conduct. The indictment also alleged
that Farah was an “associate” of certain
Minneapolis-based Somali gangs, but did not allege that he
was a gang member, nor did it charge him with participation
in any of the sex-trafficking crimes charged in the
indictment and allegedly perpetuated by members and
associates of those gangs. See Compl. ¶ 17; FSI
¶ 1(f) (naming him as an “associate of
members” of two gangs).
indictment's sex-trafficking-conspiracy charges included
some allegations about the alleged co-conspirators' use
of the word “mission” as code for prostitution.
Compl. ¶ 25. These allegations, which were included in
Count 1 of the First Superseding Indictment and incorporated
by reference into Count 2, were:
• “Jane Doe Two was informed” by certain
named defendants-not Farah-that “selling Jane Doe Two
for sex would be called a ...