Police officers in Ohio have sued rapper Afroman for using footage of their raid on his home in a music video, citing invasion of privacy.
The home of the “Because I Got High” rapper was raided in August of 2022 by police, who had a search warrant for drug trafficking and kidnapping. Video of the incident, recorded on the rapper’s home video surveillance system, shows police breaking down Afroman’s door.
Ultimately, no evidence supporting the allegations was ever found and no charges were filed against Afroman, who was born Joseph Edgar Foreman.
The rapper, in turn, made an album about the raid including a music video.
In the song “Lemon Pound Cake,” Afroman sings, “The Adams County sheriff kicked down my door, then I heard the glass break. They found no kidnapping victims, just some lemon pound cake.”
The video showed police officers walking through his kitchen, where lemon pound cake could be seen on the counter.
“I asked myself, as a powerless Black man in America, what can I do to the cops that kicked my door in, tried to kill me in front of my kids, stole my money and disconnected my cameras?” Afroman told NPR. “And the only thing I could come up with was make a funny rap song about them and make some money, use the money to pay for the damages they did and move on.”
Four deputies, two sergeants and one detective from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office sued Afroman and his media distribution company, which is based in Texas.
The law enforcement officials have said they have suffered “humiliation, ridicule, mental distress, embarrassment and loss of reputation” and received death threats as a result of Afroman’s music video, which includes their faces.
Their complaint notes the music video has made it more dangerous to carry out their work. They alleged they will “suffer irreparable injury to their reputations, their mental health, and their legally protected rights” if the music video and related social media posts are not removed.
The officers are seeking all the proceeds from the song and videos that use their likenesses. They have also asked for the proceeds from the sale of Afroman’s merchandise and his malt liquor, per The Wrap.
In an Instagram post responding to the lawsuit on March 22, Afroman said a “racist judge signed a fictitious false warrant,” which “ put the Adams county sheriff in a position to attempt to kill” him. He accused the officer involved in the raid of being “thieves” who stole money from him and destroyed his video camera system.
“After they became criminals they lost their right of privacy,” he wrote. “I use my footage of my property to raise money to pay for the damages they done and to identify the criminals operating inside of the sheriff department that stole my money Ramsack my house and disconnected my video cameras… I am a law-abiding taxpaying citizens who was violated by criminals camouflaged by law-enforcement!”
“We are planning to counter sue for the unlawful raid, money being stolen, and for the undeniable damage this had on my clients family, career and property,” the post concluded.
Cash seized from Afroman’s house during the raid was returned to him — but not all, according to a complaint filed by the rapper. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation subsequently determined officers had miscounted the seized cash, per Fox News.
Afroman announced in December of 2022 that he intends to run for president as an independent, pleading to be “Our Cannabis Commander in Chief. Our Pot Head of State.”