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Ibrahim 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; JOHN DOES 3-4, in their individual and official capacities as supervisory members of the St. Paul Police Department; and THE CITY OF ST. PAUL, Defendants.




         Plaintiff Dahir Nor Ibrahim alleges violations of his constitutional rights in an investigation that led to his indictment by a federal grand jury and subsequent arrest, his trial on two of the counts in which he was charged, and his acquittal by a jury on those two counts. 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; John Does 3-4, who are allegedly supervisory St. Paul police officers; and the City of St. Paul (“St. Paul”). Weyker and Bandemer move to dismiss Ibrahim'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 John Does 3-4 for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c). Dkt. No. 45.

         The investigation at the core of Ibrahim'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”). Ibrahim alleges that Weyker and Bandemer 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.

         Nineteen of his 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. Ibrahim, coordinating with the other plaintiffs represented by the same counsel, opposed the motions. See GBBS Pls.' Opp. to St. Paul Mot., Dkt. No. 51; GBBS Pls.' Opp. to DOJ Mot. to Dismiss, Dkt. No. 54.

         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.


         Most of 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 Ibrahim's Amended Complaint and some facts gleaned from the Tennessee Case record.[2]

         On November 8, 2010, after a First Superseding Indictment (“FSI”) was filed in the Tennessee Case dated November 3, 2010, Ibrahim was arrested. AC ¶¶ 12, 16. He was held in custody until May 2012. AC ¶¶ 12, 53. At a detention hearing on December 14, 2010, a magistrate judge found by clear and convincing evidence that there was a serious risk Ibrahim would not appear because, in part, he had international family members and owned property in Kenya and because of “his recent access to large amounts of cash, presently unaccounted for.” United States v. Ibrahim, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 359, at 2 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 14, 2010).

         The indictment charged Ibrahim with two counts of conspiracy to sex traffic a minor under 18 U.S.C. § 1594 (Counts 1 and 2) and one count of making a material false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a) (Count 24). AC ¶ 16; FSI, United States v. Ibrahim, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 36 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 3, 2010). In May 2011, a Second Superseding Indictment was filed that charged Ibrahim in the same three counts. AC ¶ 17.

         The sex-trafficking-related charges as to Ibrahim did not specify his involvement with any particular victims. See AC ¶ 20. “Prior to trial, Jane Doe Five became the centerpiece of Weyker's and Bandemer's fabricated case against Ibrahim . . . .” AC ¶ 22. Weyker was the lead investigator on the case, and Bandemer was her supervisor in the St. Paul Police Department. AC ¶ 15.

         On February 16, 2012, the district court granted a motion to sever multiple counts, including Count 24, from the upcoming trial. United States v. Ibrahim, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 1395 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 16, 2012); SAC ¶ 19. Count 24 “was later dismissed.” SAC ¶ 19.

         Ibrahim went to trial on Counts 1 and 2 in Spring 2012. AC ¶ 18. “At trial, Jane Doe Five testified that ‘in 2000 [Ibrahim] traveled to Minnesota from Nashville looking for girls to take back to Nashville and asked Jane Doe [Five] if she wanted to travel to Nashville for prostitution.” AC ¶ 24 (quoting United States v. Adan, 913 F.Supp.2d 555, 572 (M.D. Tenn. 2012)). “There was never any such conspiracy and Ibrahim never engaged in any attempt to have Jane Doe Five engage in commercial sex.” AC ¶ 25. “Fabricated evidence formed the basis of this false allegation against Ibrahim.” Id. Weyker and the other defendants “concoct[ed] stories for putative victims like Jane Doe Five and coach[ed] them to testify-albeit unbelievably and inconsistently-in support of the Indictment.” AC ¶ 35. Ibrahim “had no material involvement with Jane Doe Five.” AC ¶ 26.

         “Ibrahim was acquitted of conspiracy as to child sex trafficking by the jury as ‘[t]he Government did not prove that Ibrahim ever actually secured and transported any minor girls from Minneapolis to Nashville nor any proof of the ages of any girls.'” AC ¶ 27 (quoting Adan, 913 F.Supp.2d at 572). The jury's acquittals of Ibrahim and five other defendants in the trial “indicate[] that the jury . . . rejected all of the charges supported by Jane Doe 5's testimony.'” AC ¶ 38 (quoting United States v. Fahra, 643 Fed.Appx. 480, 489 (6th Cir. 2016)).

         The jury convicted three other defendants on some counts but acquitted them on others. Adan, 913 F.Supp.2d at 560. After the trial, the district court granted these defendants' Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 motions for judgments of acquittal on the basis of a variance, and the government appealed that order. See Id. at 579. On March 2, 2016, the Sixth ...

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