United States District Court, D. Minnesota
N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ifrah Yassin alleges that she was arrested without probable
cause on the basis of fabricated evidence and material
omissions, in violation of her constitutional rights. She was
indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of obstructing
justice by attempting to intimidate a witness in a different
federal case, and a jury acquitted her of all charges after a
trial. Yassin sues Defendants Heather Weyker, a police
officer for the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota; John
Does 3-4, members of the St. Paul Police Department who are
alleged to have been Weyker's supervisors; and the City
of St. Paul (“St. Paul”). Weyker moves to dismiss
Yassin'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. 22. St.
Paul moves on behalf of the City of St. Paul and John Does
3-4 for judgment on the pleadings. Dkt. No. 28.
witness whom Yassin was charged with intimidating was a
witness in a large criminal case prosecuted in the Middle
District of Tennessee that at its core alleged a widespread
conspiracy to sex-traffic minor girls across Minnesota,
Tennessee, and Ohio (“Tennessee Case”). Thirty
people, mostly Somali, were indicted in the Tennessee Case in
2010-2011. Twenty of the former defendants in that criminal
case have brought separate civil suits alleging that Weyker,
an investigator in the Tennessee Case, fabricated evidence,
causing them to be arrested and detained unlawfully. The
parties in these twenty-one separate civil cases agreed to
coordinated briefing on the defendants' motions to
dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings. 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
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) (citation omitted); 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.
SUMMARY OF YASSIN'S ALLEGATIONS
16, 2011, Yassin and two friends, Hawo Ahmed and Hamdi
Mohamud, were driving to the mall when Ahmed spotted Muna
Abdulkadir. Compl. ¶¶ 8-9. Ahmed told her friends
that she wanted to fight Abdulkadir, without explaining why,
and exited the car to approach Abdulkadir. Compl. ¶ 9.
Yassin followed. Id. The two followed Abdulkadir
into an apartment building, where Ahmed confronted her, and
Abdulkadir agreed to fight. Compl. ¶ 10. The three
stepped into an elevator and got into a physical altercation.
Compl. ¶¶ 10-11. Yassin did not participate until
she felt the need to protect Ahmed, who was pregnant.
See Compl. ¶ 11. The three parted ways, and
Abdulkadir proceeded to go to Ahmed's car, with a knife
in hand, and begin breaking the windows. Compl. ¶¶
12-13. When Yassin approached, Abdulkadir lunged at her with
the knife. Compl. ¶ 14.
broke away and called the police for emergency help. Compl.
¶ 15. Minneapolis Police Department Officer Anthijuan
Beeks responded to Yassin's emergency call, and when he
arrived at the scene, he spoke to Yassin and her friends,
treating them as victims of alleged felony assault and
vandalism. Compl. ¶ 17. Before he could find and
question Abdulkadir, he received an urgent call from Weyker.
observing that Yassin had called the police, Abdulkadir ran
and called Weyker. Compl. ¶ 16. Weyker then got in touch
with Beeks. She informed him that she was a St. Paul police
officer, that “Abdulkadir was a key witness in a
federal human-trafficking investigation that Weyker was
working on, ” and that Weyker “had
‘information and documentation' that Yassin, Ahmed,
and Mohamud had been actively seeking out Abdulkadir to
intimidate her and cause bodily harm to her because of her
role in the federal investigation.” Compl. ¶ 18.
confirming that the “information and
documentation” existed, Beeks took Weyker at her word:
“her conversation with him ‘changed the
situation.'” Compl. ¶ 19. “Based on
Weyker's representations, Officer Beeks and his
supervisor decided to arrest Yassin, Ahmed, and Mohamud on
suspicion of federal witness tampering. The[y] also decided
not to arrest Abdulkadir on state felony assault or vandalism
charges.” Compl. ¶ 20. “Beeks told Yassin in
his squad car while driving her to jail that he arrested her
based on Officer Weyker's assertions.” Compl.
fact, Weyker did not have any “information and
documentation” about Yassin or her friends, about whom
Weyker had only first learned that very day. Compl. ¶
21. Yassin had been out of the country from 2008 to 2011,
Compl. ¶ 22, while the Tennessee Case investigation was
ongoing and the indictments were filed. Weyker's
statement to Beeks that she had “information and
documentation” that Yassin had been trying to
intimidate and harm Abdulkadir for her role as a witness was
entirely false, and furthermore omitted that Abdulkadir had
“previously made multiple false statements to
her.” Compl. ¶¶ 21, 23. Weyker made these
false and misleading statements because “Abdulkadir was
a lynchpin of Weyker's manufactured human-trafficking
case, ” the Tennessee Case, in which none of the
defendants who stood trial were convicted. Compl. ¶ 24
& n.2 (citing United States v. Fahra, 643
Fed.Appx. 480 (6th Cir. 2016)). Weyker “sought to
assist Abdulkadir in avoiding criminal charges for her
actions against Yassin, Ahmed, and Mohamud as further
incentive for Abdulkadir to continue cooperating with Weyker
by fabricating events and testimony in the human-trafficking
case.” Compl. ¶ 24.
Beeks arrested Yassin, she was temporarily held in custody
before being released on conditions. Compl. ¶ 32. She
was indicted on federal charges of witness tampering and
obstruction of justice. Compl. ¶ 25. A jury acquitted
her of all charges in July 2013. Id. ¶ 34.
alleges violations of her rights under the Fourth, Fifth,
Sixth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments. She also includes