A Ramsey woman who spent four years in jail and two years on house arrest after she was accused of participating in a complicated sex trafficking ring is now suing a St. Paul investigator, police department supervisors and the city.
Hamdi Ali Osman, 26, returned to Minnesota from a Kentucky jail in early March. Her federal lawsuit alleges St. Paul investigator Heather Weyker framed Osman as the "madam" in the sex ring of mostly Somali-American immigrants and refugees that ran from Minnesota to Ohio and Tennessee.
Osman filed the suit Thursday, weeks after a federal appeals court rebuked Weyker lied to a grand jury reviewing the case against 30 people.
The original child sex trafficking indictment against dozens of Somali-Americans, mostly from the Twin Cities, came in 2010. A Tennessee jury acquitted six and convicted three Twin Cities men, Idris Fahra, Andrew Kayachith and Yassin Yusuf, in 2012. Last month, a federal judge reversed the conviction and the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld the reversal after concluding Weyker had fabricated stories the indictment relied on.
The ruling said Weyker's thousands of pages of rough handwritten notes didn't mention sex for money, but her final reports did.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Nashville then dismissed all pending cases against the remaining defendants last month.
Osman's lawsuit cites the appeals court decision as basis for her argument that Weyker's actions deprived her of her freedom for six years. She's also suing three unnamed supervisors who allowed Weyker to continue fabricating facts including alleged victims' ages. She is seeking $12 million.
"Weyker also attempted to manipulate, threaten, pressure, defraud, and coerce two other young women who knew Osman into framing Osman as a 'madam,'" according to the lawsuit. "But these young women ultimately resisted Weyker's threats, shaming, enticements, pressuring, and other coercive behaviors and told Weyker the truth."
The complaint goes on to say that the girls were not engaged in commercial sex and had not been pimped by Osman.
Eight year ago, Osman received a call from one of the girls she knew from the Somali community in Minneapolis. Court documents identified her as Jane Doe 3. The girl wanted to stay with Osman in Nashville. Osman told her she would allow her to stay there until her mother picked her up the next day.
Osman eventually moved back to Minnesota. Two years later, she was arrested with 28 other men and women for a "far-reaching sex trafficking conspiracy," according to the federal complaint.
The investigation violated Osman's federal civil rights, said Andrew Irlbeck, Osman's attorney.
"The constitutional violations seem to be clear cut," he said. "The reason we (filed the lawsuit) when we did it is because the ordeal has already been six years for Ms. Osman and so we just didn't want to wait another day."
The St. Paul Police Department referred questions on the suit to the city attorney, who did not immediately return calls for comment.
Police officials put Weyker on leave after the appeals court ruling last month. She's back at work in the department's research and development unit in a non-investigative role.