RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A former Raleigh police officer was indicted by a Wake County grand jury with felony obstruction of justice following an investigation that began in 2020 after he was accused of planting fake heroin on a group of men, the district attorney announced Wednesday.
“Omar Abdullah was found to have unlawfully, willfully and feloniously obstruct justice by providing false statements to a judicial official pertaining to a fake and counterfeit substance falsely represented by the Defendant to be heroin… while pursing trafficking in heroin charges against Marcus Vanirvin as an officer with the Raleigh Police Department,” on or about May 21, 2020 official documents released Wednesday showed.
Abe Rubert-Schewel said he got calls and texts from his clients not long after the news came out.
“For a lot of them, they were very happy,” he mentioned. “My role is the civil attorney for the clients who were wrongfully arrested. Who were wrongfully detained. Who had their homes raided,” Schewel said.
CBS 17 previously reported Abdullah was fired Oct. 28, 2021, after he was accused of planting the heroin and then charging the people with trafficking from this incident.
Abdullah and the City of Raleigh then fell subject to a civil rights lawsuit.
The plaintiffs faced more than seven years in prison and spent more than two years in jail before the charges were dismissed.
The city later settled the lawsuit for $2 million, CBS 17 previously reported.
The indictment specifically states that Abdullah provided false statements pertaining to fake heroin while trying to pursue trafficking charges against Marcus Vanirvin in May 2020.
“What I can tell you about the criminal case is that it’s based off the wrongful arrest of Marcus Vanirvin, who was one of my clients,” mentioned Schewel.
Kerwin Pittman with Emancipate NC said the indictment is a step towards justice, but not total justice.
“Homes were disrupted. So, the ramifications still run the gamut of what’s going on,” he said.
Emancipate NC is representing the families who said police wrongfully raided their home on May 21, 2020 that involved Abdullah.
“So, my concern is that this pattern is going to repeat itself if the city, if the police department does not enact better policies,” stated Schewel.
A statement Wednesday from Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman:
“The Grand Jury of Wake County indicted former Raleigh Police Officer Omar Abdullah with felony obstruction of justice yesterday. This indictment comes at the end of a lengthy investigation into this matter. From the beginning, we have taken the harm caused with great seriousness. The standard of criminal prosecution is different than that of civil liability and separate from administrative policy violations and carries a much higher burden. The State Bureau of Investigation and our office has worked diligently to adhere this burden. Because this is a pending criminal matter now, our office has no further comment at this time.“