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Abdullah v. George

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

February 12, 2018

KELLY GEORGE, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Ma'aluum A'quil Abdullah, appearing pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of the First Amendment and his right to Due Process. (ECF No. 1). U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti referred this matter to the undersigned magistrate judge for initial proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)-(C).[1]

         Defendant Kelly George has filed: (1) a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment and Brief in Support, and (2) a court-ordered Special Report (ECF Nos. 26 & 27). Plaintiff has filed a response to the dispositive motion and Defendant George has filed a reply. (ECF Nos. 52 & 54). For the reasons discussed below, it is recommended that the Court grant Defendant George's dispositive motion on grounds of qualified immunity.


         In the early morning hours of June 6, 2016, following an arrest, Plaintiff was booked into the Lincoln County Jail under the name of Ma'aluum Aquil Abdullah. (ECF Nos. 1-1:2, 26:10-11, 52:2). As part of the booking process, Plaintiff was fingerprinted and his fingerprints were processed through the Integrated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)-a national fingerprinting database. (ECF Nos. 26:11, 26-2:2, 52:3). On June 8, 2016, while Plaintiff was still in jail, Defendant George was notified that AFIS had identified Plaintiff's fingerprints as belonging to Todd Gregory Cooks, for whom an outstanding warrant existed in Oklahoma County. (ECF Nos. 26:11, 26-2:2, 27:7).

         Defendant George then took steps to confirm that the individual booked in the Lincoln County Jail under the name Ma'aluum Aquil Abdullah, was actually Todd Gregory Cooks. Ms. George compared a photograph of Mr. Cooks to Mr. Abdullah and found cases which had been filed by Mr. Abdullah and/or Mr. Cooks, using both names as aliases on the same court filings. (ECF Nos. 26:12, 26-2:3, 26-5, 26-6, 26-7).

         Following her research, Defendant George believed that Ma'aluum Aquil Abdullah and Todd Gregory Cooks were the same individual and that Mr. Abdullah was denying use of the name “Cooks” as a means to avoid prosecution. (ECF Nos. 26:12, 26-2:3). Defendant George then completed an “Incident Report/Narrative” and an “Affidavit of Probable Cause to Make Warrantless Custodial Arrest.” (ECF No. 26-1:5). In the Incident Report, Defendant George noted the facts surrounding Plaintiff's arrest, including that during the booking process Mr. Abdullah had denied ever having been arrested by any other name. (ECF Nos. 26-1, 26-2:2). Ms. George then prepared a report to be used in connection with arresting Mr. Abdullah for false impersonation of another with intent to avoid prosecution. (ECF No. 26-1:21-25).

         In the Affidavit of Probable Cause to Make Warrantless Custodial Arrest, Defendant George stated:

On 6/6/2016 Abdullah, Maaluum Aquil was brought to the Lincoln County Jail for the purpose of arrest and detainment. On 6/8/2016 the AFIS database notified this agency that the fingerprints taken during the booking of Abdullah confirmed a hit match for a Cooks, Todd Gregory with a warrant out of Oklahoma County. Upon investigation and comparison of pictures and fingerprints it is determined that Abdullah is in fact Cooks, Todd Gregory. Abdullah presented Oklahoma ID with the name Abdullah which is alleged to be a fake or altered ID as well, Subjected [sic] presented himself as Abdullah to the jail and arresting officer after being asked several times during interview and booking.

(ECF No. 26-1:5, 26-3). The affidavit was used to arrest Mr. Abdullah on the false impersonation charges.

         On June 9, 2016, a Lincoln County District Judge determined there was probable cause to detain plaintiff on the false impersonation charges and the District Attorney Richard Smotherman, charged Plaintiff with a violation of 21 O.S. § 1531, for false impersonation of another after two or more felonies. (ECF Nos. 27-3, 27-4, 27-5). After the case for false impersonation had been filed, Mr. Abdullah told Defendant George that he had legally changed his name. (ECF No. 1-1:3). Ultimately, the District Attorney moved to dismiss the false impersonation case and the Court granted the motion.[2]


         In his § 1983 Complaint, Mr. Abdullah asserts two federal claims: (1) a violation of the First Amendment and (2) a violation of Due Process. (ECF No. 1:6). Specifically, Plaintiff states that his “unalienable right to freedom of religion protected by the first amendment” and his “right to due process of law protected by the 5th and 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution” were violated when he was “falsely charged and arrested for using [his] own legal name” which he had legally changed to Ma'aluum Aquil Abdullah for religious reasons. (ECF No. 1:6, 7).

         In support of both claims, Mr. Abdullah states that Defendant George made a “false declaration” against Plaintiff claiming that his name was not Ma'aluum Abdullah and “falsely arrest[ed] him for false identity, though [his] name is legally changed.” (ECF No. 1:6, 7). In support, Plaintiff offers proof that he had legally changed his name to Ma'aluum Aquil Abdullah in 1995. (ECF Nos. 1-2, 1-3, 1-4). Plaintiff also stated that Lincoln County Sheriff's officials were in possession of his validly-issued Oklahoma state identification card bearing that name when he was falsely arrested and charged “with false identity for using [his] legal name.” (ECF No. 1:7, 8).

         At various times in the Complaint, Mr. Abdullah alleges that Defendant George “willingly, knowingly and maliciously” and with “evil intent” and “misuse of process” made a “false declaration” against him and submitted the probable cause affidavit in “bad faith” and “falsely arrested” him for using his legal name. (ECF Nos. 1:6-8, 1-1:2-3). And in Plaintiff's response to the dispositive motion, Mr. Abdullah alleges that Defendant George's actions constituted “abuse of process” and “malicious prosecution.” (ECF No. 52:18-20). The undersigned liberally construes these allegations to assert state law claims for false arrest, malicious ...

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