Raleigh, North Carolina – A Wake County grand jury returned an indictment on Wednesday, advancing the criminal case against a former Raleigh police officer tied to drug arrests that later had to be dismissed.
Detective Omar Abdullah was fired in November 2021 after being on paid leave for over a year.
“This indictment comes at the end of a lengthy investigation into this matter. From the beginning, we have taken the harm caused very seriously,” Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said.
Authorities allege that between December 2019 and May 2020, Abdullah used an informant named Dennis Leon Williams Jr. for controlled drug purchases that led to the arrest and imprisonment of 15 black men for drug trafficking.
But lab tests showed that the “drugs” used by Williams in the transactions were not illegal narcotics. Also, he failed to get the transactions on video.
Charges against the 15 men were dropped and Williams was charged in August 2021 with five counts of obstruction of justice.
In October 2021, Raleigh officials agreed to pay 13 of the men a total of $2 million to settle a lawsuit over their wrongful arrests.
That lawsuit alleged that Abdullah and Williams conspired to target black men for arrest. Some of the plaintiffs spent up to five months in jail before their charges were dropped, and some lost their jobs and were separated from their children because of the wrongful arrests, according to the lawsuit.