Omar v. Weyker et al
ORDER: (1) Defendants Heather Weyker and John Bandemer's Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. No. 40 ] is GRANTED. (2) Defendant City of Saint Paul's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Dkt. No. 46 ] is GRANTED. (3) Plaintiff Abdifatah Sharif Omar's First Amended Complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. (Written Opinion) Signed by Judge Joan N. Ericksen on August 9, 2017. (CBC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
ABDIFATAH SHARIF OMAR,
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.
Case No. 16cv1243 (JNE/TNL)
Plaintiff 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.
The 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.
Nineteen 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.
The Court held a hearing on Defendants’ motions on May 3, 2017, and now grants both
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
The United States also filed a Motion to Substitute and Dismiss, which was mooted by
stipulation as recognized by the March 6, 2017 Order Permitting the Osman Plaintiffs to Amend
Complaints. Dkt. No. 61. Pursuant to that order, A. Omar filed a First Amended Complaint
[Dkt. No. 62] (“FAC”), which is thus the operative complaint subject to these Rule 12 motions.
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 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 record. 2
In 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.
In an 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
The Court may take judicial notice of public documents in the Tennessee Case record.
Greenman, 787 F.3d at 887.
¶ 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, 2010).
A. Omar 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.
“Despite 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 sextrafficking conspiracy and other allegations.” FAC ¶ 29.
Like 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.
Nine of 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.
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS
A summary of the parties’ arguments on these consolidated motions is included in the
Osman Opinion at pages 8-10.
As explained fully in the Osman Opinion, pursuant to Manuel v. City of Joliet, 137 S. Ct.
911 (Mar. 21, 2017), A. Omar’s claims sound, if at all, in the Fourth Amendment, not the Fifth
or Fourteenth. See Osman Op. 11-13; see also id. at 17-22. His complaint is that “[b]ut for the
evidence Weyker fabricated, no probable cause existed to detain or otherwise restrict [his]
liberty.” FAC ¶ 1. In other words, he complains “that a form of legal process resulted in pretrial
detention unsupported by probable cause.” Manuel, 137 S. Ct. at 919. So “the right allegedly
infringed lies in the Fourth Amendment.” Id. A “constitutional division of labor” applies to
claims similar to A. Omar’s. Id. at 920 n.8. Thus, because he challenges his pretrial detention,
his claim is under the Fourth Amendment, but if he had been convicted and were to challenge the
sufficiency of the evidence supporting that conviction, his claim would then be under the Due
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because “once a trial has occurred, the Fourth
Amendment drops out.” Id. A. Omar’s claims for substantive due process violations under the
Fifth or Fourteenth Amendments therefore fail. See also Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271
(1994) (plurality opinion).
The Court thus rejects the substantive due process claims on the basis of Manuel and
Albright, but it also notes that to the extent these claims rely on the allegation that A. Omar was
held in custody, rather than released on bond, because of the fabricated evidence supporting the
sex-trafficking conspiracy charges, see FAC ¶ 28, this argument for a substantive due process
claim fares no better. The Bail Reform Act requires a court to hold a detention hearing if the
government moves to detain a pretrial defendant in a case that charges a violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1591. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1)(A) (2008). In that hearing, a number of procedural rights are
afforded by the statute. See id. § 3142(f); United States v. Stephens, 594 F.3d 1033, 1038 (8th
Cir. 2010). The court must consider (1) “the nature and circumstances of the offense charged,
including whether the offense is . . . a violation of section 1591,” (2) “the weight of the evidence
against the person,” (3) “the history and characteristics of the person,” and (4) “the nature and
seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by the person’s
release.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g). If the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that
there is no combination of conditions that could “reasonably assure the appearance of such
person as required and the safety of any other person and the community,” id. § 3142(f ), then
the court “shall order” the defendant’s detention pending trial, id. § 3142(e). Although in a case
in which the judge “finds that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed
. . . an offense involving a minor victim under section . . . 1591,” it “shall be presumed” that
detention is necessary, that presumption may be rebutted by other evidence at the detention
hearing. Id. § 3142(e)(3)(E). Moreover, the defendant’s presumption of innocence remains in
force at the detention hearing. Id. § 3142(j). A. Omar does not allege any facts about his
detention hearing. Even crediting his allegations that Weyker fabricated evidence of a sextrafficking conspiracy and fooled the grand jury into indicting him on those charges, see FAC
¶ 37, the Court could not reasonably infer that the sex-trafficking-related charges caused him to
be held in custody, because the § 3142 presumption was rebuttable and multiple factors had to be
considered. “The Government must first of all demonstrate probable cause to believe that the
charged crime has been committed by the arrestee, but that is not enough.” United States v.
Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 750 (1987). “In a full-blown adversary hearing, the Government must
convince a neutral decisionmaker by clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release
can reasonably assure the safety of the community or any person.” Id. A. Omar was entitled, for
example, to an evaluation of the weight of the evidence against him, yet he does not allege that
Weyker played any role in tainting any such separate judicial determination, nor that she in any
way affected an evaluation by a judge of A. Omar’s history and characteristics. The silence in A.
Omar’s complaint on this topic leaves open the possibility that he waived his initial right to a
hearing. More importantly, the record reflects that even after the trial of the nine co-defendants,
a panel of the Sixth Circuit found that six of his co-defendants should remain in custody pending
trial or retrial, based in part on an evaluation of the weight of the evidence at trial. United States
v. Fahra, No. 13-5296, Dkt. No. 61-1 (6th Cir. Dec. 18, 2013) (submitted in this case at DOJ
Reply Ex. BB). This fact further reinforces a conclusion that A. Omar fails to plausibly allege
substantive due process violations on the basis of a § 3142 presumption.
Under the Fourth Amendment analysis, the Court must decide whether A. Omar plausibly
alleges that the Defendants violated his right to be free from unreasonable seizure by arresting
and detaining him without arguable probable cause, based on fabricated evidence. 3
Because the Court finds that only the Fourth Amendment, and not substantive due
process, is applicable; because a Fourth Amendment claim in this case does not present a new
context for a Bivens action; and because § 1983 and Bivens claims are analyzed similarly, the
Court does not reach the question of whether A. Omar’s claim should be brought under § 1983 or
Bivens. See Osman Op. 13-17.
To evaluate whether a person’s Fourth Amendment right has been violated by an arrest
pursuant to a warrant that lacked probable cause, the court applies the analysis set out in Franks
v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978). See Hawkins v. Gage Cty., 759 F.3d 951, 958-59 (8th Cir.
2014); Hernandez-Cuevas v. Taylor, 723 F.3d 91, 101, 105 (1st Cir. 2013). Thus, the court
considers whether there were deliberately or recklessly false statements made in support of a
finding of probable cause and whether those statements were necessary to the finding of probable
cause. See Franks, 438 U.S. at 156; Williams v. City of Alexander, 772 F.3d 1307, 1311 (8th Cir.
2014). The court also considers whether material information was omitted with the intent to
mislead or with reckless disregard as to whether the omission was misleading. See Williams, 772
F.3d at 1312; Hawkins, 759 F.3d at 959. If, setting aside the false statements (or adding in the
omitted information), there was no probable cause to arrest, then the arrest violated the Fourth
Amendment. See Williams, 772 F.3d at 1312-13; Hawkins, 759 F.3d at 958-59; HernandezCuevas, 723 F.3d at 105. Probable cause “exists when the totality of the circumstances at the
time of the arrest are sufficient to lead a reasonable person to believe that the defendant has
committed or is committing an offense.” Greenman v. Jessen, 787 F.3d 882, 888 (8th Cir. 2015)
Where a plaintiff alleges that she was arrested without probable cause and the defendant
asserts the qualified immunity defense, courts ask whether there was “arguable probable cause to
arrest.” Stewart v. Wagner, 836 F.3d 978, 984 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing New v. Denver, 787 F.3d
895, 899 (8th Cir. 2015)) (applying this standard to a Fourth Amendment claim for detention
based on allegedly false and incomplete information in a probable cause statement). 4 “[T]he
An arresting officer who had “a mistaken but objectively reasonable belief” that
probable cause existed would be entitled to qualified immunity. McCabe v. Parker, 608 F.3d
1068, 1078 (8th Cir. 2010). A. Omar alleges, however, that there was no mistaken belief—
issue for immunity purposes is not probable cause in fact but arguable probable cause, that is,
whether the officer should have known that the arrest violated plaintiff’s clearly established
right.” New, 787 F.3d at 899. “It is clearly established that the Fourth Amendment requires a
truthful factual showing sufficient to constitute probable cause before an arrest warrant can
issue.” Peterson v. City of Plymouth, 60 F.3d 469, 477 (8th Cir. 1995) (emphasis added)
(quoting Moody v. St. Charles Cty., 23 F.3d 1410, 1412 (8th Cir. 1994)).
a. Analysis of A. Omar’s Claim Under the Fourth Amendment
In considering whether A. Omar plausibly alleges a Fourth Amendment violation, the
Court disregards mere conclusory statements, focuses on well-pleaded factual allegations and
accepts them as true, and applies its judicial experience and common sense. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). The Court also properly considers the Tennessee Case court
record in assessing the pleadings. See, e.g., Greenman, 787 F.3d at 887.
A. Omar’s core allegations closely track Osman’s. Like Osman, he alleges that a jury
acquitted six defendants, and the court acquitted 5 the other three. In the Osman Opinion, the
Court examines several orders and memoranda by the district court and two separate Sixth
Circuit Court of Appeals opinions concerning the Tennessee Case, some of which both Osman
and A. Omar cite. See Osman Op. 25-33. For example, A. Omar, like Osman, cites United
States v. Adan, 913 F. Supp. 2d 555, 589 n.10 (M.D. Tenn. 2012), which refers to a July 31, 2012
detention hearing for A. Omar. In Osman’s case, the Court found that some of these statements
by judicial officers are remarkable, and that taken all together along with other well-pleaded
rather, Weyker knowingly fabricated the material evidence. The “arguable probable cause”
standard arguably would not apply if Weyker intentionally misled, but A. Omar does not press
the point, see Osman DOJ Opp. 34-35, and it is not dispositive here.
The Court uses the word “acquittal” for consistency with the Tennessee Case opinions
and the pleadings but has some reservations about it. See Osman Op. 23-25.
facts, they nudge Osman’s Fourth Amendment claim over the Iqbal plausibility line. The Court
further found that the fact that Osman was also indicted on obstruction of justice charges relating
to the prosecution of the allegedly fabricated sex-trafficking-conspiracy case does not per se
doom her claim. See Osman Op. 35-37. This case, however, is different.
Weyker and Bandemer argue that even if A. Omar plausibly alleges that Weyker
fabricated evidence material to the indictment for sex-trafficking-related charges, the fact that he
was also indicted in non-trafficking-related charges defeats his Fourth Amendment claim. They
argue that A. Omar fails to plausibly allege that there was not probable cause to arrest him on the
other crimes for which he was charged. See DOJ Br. 65-68. A. Omar counters that it is the
Defendants’ burden to establish their affirmative defense of arguable probable cause and that
“too many fact issues remain at this stage for the Court to rule on the effects that other charges
may have had on the Osman Plaintiffs’ unlawful arrests.” See Osman DOJ Opp. 34. Moreover,
A. Osman argues there was no arguable probable cause to arrest him in 2010 “without the
fabricated evidence,” as shown by the fact that the government ultimately dismissed all charges
against all remaining co-defendants. See id. at 35.
A. Omar alleges that “Weyker also fabricated and/or caused to be fabricated the evidence
implicating Omar in the non-sex-trafficking charges.” FAC ¶ 27; see also FAC ¶ 62 (“Omar
never would have been indicted or detained had Weyker not fabricated evidence, coerced
witnesses, and misled federal authorities.”). But he does not allege any facts to lend plausibility
to this conclusory statement. His allegation that he was never convicted of any crime in the
Tennessee Case, FAC ¶ 27, is not sufficient because in a criminal case as lengthy and
complicated as the Tennessee Case, it is not reasonable to assume from the Government’s
eventual dismissal of all charges, after an appeals court affirmed the grant of acquittals for three
co-defendants on the basis of a variance, that there was never probable cause to support any of
the charges. A. Omar never specifically alleges that he was not in a conspiracy to transport
stolen goods in interstate commerce (Count 15), to transport a stolen vehicle (Count 16), to use
false identification (Count 17), or to commit credit card fraud (Count 18). 6 Those counts in the
indictment are supported by numerous specific allegations of overt acts by A. Omar. See, e.g.,
Ind’t ¶¶ 101-04, 108, 140-43 (alleging, among other things, driving a stolen car and attempting to
use stolen credit card information at specific retail locations). For example, Count 15 alleged
that A. Omar and others stole approximately $120,000 in cash, along with other goods, from a
business in Nashville on May 22, 2006, and that two days earlier, A. Omar had spoken with an
unindicted co-conspirator about burglarizing that business. Ind’t ¶¶ 101-02. It further alleges
that on May 23, 2006, A. Omar transported the $120,000 in cash to Minnesota. Ind’t ¶ 103. And
it alleges that A. Omar conspired to commit several thefts in Ohio in September 2006. Ind’t ¶¶
104-06. In his civil complaint, however, A. Omar never alleges that, for instance, he did not help
steal $120,000 or transport that cash to Minnesota. Nor, for example, does he allege any facts to
dispute the absence of probable cause for Count 16, where the indictment alleged that on
February 4, 2010, A. Omar had a key made for a particular Cadillac Escalade and that five days
later, the Escalade was stolen and shortly thereafter registered with the Ohio Bureau of Motor
Vehicles by some of his co-defendants. See Ind’t ¶¶ 108-10. The absence of specific factual
allegations as to these non-sex-trafficking-related charges defeats any argument that A. Omar has
He also alleges conclusorily that there was no conspiracy to “obstruct the investigation”
of the alleged sex-trafficking conspiracy. See FAC ¶ 25. As the fact section above reflects, the
indictment alleged some specific acts by A. Omar in support of the obstruction of justice
charges, but analysis of those charges is unnecessary because he fails to allege a Fourth
Amendment violation with regard to the clearly non-sex-trafficking-related charges like Counts
15 through 18.
plausibly alleged that there was no probable cause to arrest him in November 2010 on any of the
non-sex-trafficking-related charges in the operative indictment. 7
Therefore, A. Omar’s complaint must fail. Even if there were no probable cause to
arrest him based on the allegedly spurious sex-trafficking-conspiracy charges, there is no Fourth
Amendment violation where there is probable cause to arrest “for the violation of some other
law.” Greenman, 787 F.3d at 889 (citation omitted); see also Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146,
153 (2004) (holding that there is no Fourth Amendment violation if there is probable cause to
arrest based on any criminal offense, even if the officer’s subjective reason for arresting was a
different and unrelated offense); Keil v. Triveline, 661 F.3d 981, 986 (8th Cir. 2011). He “has
failed to ‘make out a violation of a constitutional right’ in the first instance.” Greenman, 787
F.3d at 888; see also Keil, 661 F.3d at 986.
The Court acknowledges A. Omar’s grievance with having spent some of his pretrial
detention in custody rather than out on bond. But detention comes in different forms and is a
restraint on liberty in any form. See, e.g., Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 114 (1975) (“Even
pretrial release may be accompanied by burdensome conditions that effect a significant restraint
of liberty.”). The Fourth Amendment does not distinguish between the forms of pretrial
detention; it “protects ‘[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons . . . against
unreasonable . . . seizures,’” and “‘[a] person is seized’ whenever officials ‘restrain his freedom
of movement’ such that he is ‘not free to leave.’” Manuel, 137 S. Ct. at 917 (citations omitted).
Defendant Weyker is entitled to qualified immunity. A. Omar has failed to plausibly
allege a constitutional violation.
The Court further notes that at least one of his co-defendants pleaded guilty to the
credit-card conspiracy charged in Count 18. See United States v. Nur, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No.
2870 (M.D. Tenn. Oct. 5, 2012).
b. Supervisory Liability
A. Omar sues Bandemer and Robert Roes 1-3 in their individual capacities as
supervisors. He alleges that they were deliberately indifferent to but not direct participants in
Weyker’s alleged violations.
A supervisor sued in his or her individual capacity in a § 1983 or Bivens suit “is only
liable for his or her own misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677; see also S.M. v. Krigbaum, 808
F.3d 335, 340 (8th Cir. 2015). “When a supervising official who had no direct participation in
an alleged constitutional violation is sued for failure to train or supervise the offending actor, the
supervisor is entitled to qualified immunity unless plaintiff proves that the supervisor (1)
received notice of a pattern of unconstitutional acts committed by a subordinate, and (2) was
deliberately indifferent to or authorized those acts.” Krigbaum, 808 F.3d at 340 (citing Livers,
700 F.3d at 355). “This rigorous standard requires proof that the supervisor had notice of a
pattern of conduct by the subordinate that violated a clearly established constitutional right.
Allegations of generalized notice are insufficient.” Id. The notice prong requires that “[t]o
impose supervisory liability, other misconduct [allegedly giving the supervisor notice] must be
very similar to the conduct giving rise to liability.” Id. (quoting Livers, 700 F.3d at 356).
First, given the Court’s conclusion that A. Omar has not adequately alleged a
constitutional violation by Weyker, the supervisory liability claims “automatically fail for lack of
an underlying constitutional violation.” Mendoza v. U.S. Immig’n & Customs Enf’t, 849 F.3d
408, 420 (8th Cir. 2017) (citing City of Los Angeles v. Heller, 475 U.S. 796, 798-99 (1986)).
Moreover, A. Omar’s complaint, which is practically identical to Osman’s complaint as
to the supervisory liability allegations, likewise contains few allegations—and fewer wellpleaded facts—regarding supervisory liability. Like Osman, he alleges that Bandemer and the
Robert Roes had supervisory responsibility over Weyker, see, e.g., FAC ¶¶ 7, 9; that the
investigation was very important to the St. Paul Police Department vice unit, id. ¶ 35; and that
“[b]y February 12, 2012, at the latest, Bandemer and the other supervisory Defendants and the
City had actual notice of the falsity of the allegations put forth by Weyker,” based on district
court orders including the memorandum-order at Dkt. No. 1392 and because of news coverage,
id. ¶¶ 46, 55-56. Like Osman, A. Omar cites United States v. Mohamud, No. 3:10cr260, 2013
WL 1935506, at *11 n. 6 (M.D. Tenn. May 9, 2013), and Adan, 913 F. Supp. 2d at 589 n.10, in
support of his supervisory liability notice allegations. FAC ¶ 56.
As explained in the Osman Opinion, these allegations do not sufficiently plead
supervisory liability based on notice. See Osman Op. 37-41. Nor do they establish a pattern of
unconstitutional acts by Weyker. Ignoring conclusory or unsupported allegations, A. Omar does
not allege any other similar acts by Weyker before her Tennessee Case investigation that could
show a pattern about which Bandemer or the Robert Roes personally knew.
The allegations fail to state a claim for supervisory liability, and Bandemer and Robert
Roes 1-3 are entitled to qualified immunity as to these counts.
c. Municipal Liability
A. Omar sues St. Paul as well as Bandemer and the Robert Roes in their official
capacities for municipal liability under Monell v. Dept. of Social Servs. of the City of New York,
436 U.S. 658 (1978). “[A] local government may not be sued under § 1983 for an injury
inflicted solely by its employees or agents.” Id. at 694. “Instead,” a municipality is liable “when
execution of a government’s policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those
whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury . . . .” Id.
A plaintiff therefore must show that there is an “official” policy or a “custom or usage
with the force of law.” Kelly v. City of Omaha, 813 F.3d 1070, 1075 (8th Cir. 2016). A plaintiff
must plead “allegations, reference, or language by which one could begin to draw an inference
that the conduct complained of . . . resulted from an unconstitutional policy or custom.”
Crumpley-Patterson v. Trinity Lutheran Hosp., 388 F.3d 588, 591 (8th Cir. 2004) (citation
omitted). Absent allegations of an official policy that was the moving force behind the violation,
“[m]isconduct among a municipality’s employees must be ‘continuing, widespread, [and]
persistent’ to establish such a custom.” Kelly, 813 F.3d at 1075 (citation omitted). Also, “the
municipality will not be liable unless policymaking officials exhibit ‘[d]eliberate indifference to
or tacit authorization of such conduct . . . after notice to the officials of that misconduct.” Id. at
1075-76 (citation omitted). The question is whether a “governmental policy or custom was the
‘moving force’ that led to the deprivation of [the plaintiff’s] constitutional rights.” Speer v. City
of Wynne, 276 F.3d 980, 986 (8th Cir. 2002). Even if no individual employee is found liable, a
municipality might be liable, but only where “the combined actions of multiple officials or
employees may give rise to a constitutional violation.” Id.
A. Omar alleges that Weyker acted alone, with little supervision. See, e.g., FAC ¶ 45.
He does not allege facts to support conclusory allegations that Weyker or other St. Paul Police
Department employees fabricated evidence in other investigations. For the same reasons given
in the Osman Opinion, see Osman Op. 41-42, A. Omar’s municipal liability allegations also fail.
Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on all counts, because A. Omar’s complaint
fails to plausibly allege a violation of his constitutional rights. The Court grants the Defendants’
motions and dismisses with prejudice. See Ulrich v. Pope Cty., 715 F.3d 1054, 1060-61 (8th Cir.
2013); C.N. v. Willmar Pub. Sch., Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 347, 591 F.3d 624, 635 (8th Cir. 2010).
The Court will not grant leave to amend based on a request made in passing at the end of a brief
without complying with local rules or in any way indicating what changes might be made. See
In re Baycol Prod. Litig., 732 F.3d 869, 880 n.8 (8th Cir. 2013).
Based on the files, records, and proceedings herein, and for the reasons stated above, IT
IS ORDERED THAT:
1. Defendants Heather Weyker and John Bandemer’s Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. No. 40]
2. Defendant City of Saint Paul’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Dkt. No. 46] is
3. Plaintiff Abdifatah Sharif Omar’s First Amended Complaint is DISMISSED WITH
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
Dated: August 9, 2017
s/ Joan N. Ericksen
JOAN N. ERICKSEN
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?