Hip-hop icon Afroman is being sued by law enforcement officers in Ohio who accuse the rapper of creating music videos and social media posts that improperly include footage from a police raid on his home last year. The lawsuit was filed earlier this month by seven peace officers employed by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, including two sergeants, a detective and four deputies, who claim that their privacy was violated by Afroman’s video. Other law enforcement officers who were involved in the raid are not named as plaintiffs in the suit.
In August 2022, law enforcement officers served a search warrant at the Ohio home of Afroman, who rose to fame in 2001 with his hit and ode to marijuana “Because I Got High.” The rapper was not home at the time of the raid, but neighbors informed him of the police action. Security cameras at the home recorded the search, and his ex-wife, who lives nearby, shot cell phone video from outside.
In the warrant, police stated that they had probable cause to believe that drugs and drug paraphernalia would be found in the home, according to an
“They took, like, some roaches, and a vape pen, and a jar of CBD. I think they thought I had like hundreds and thousands of pounds or something like that,”
Later, when cash seized in the raid was returned to Afroman, it appeared that several hundred dollars were missing. However, an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation found that deputies had miscounted the money at the time of its seizure.
After the raid, Afroman released an album with songs about the event and used video captured during the search of his home in music videos and social media posts. In an interview with NPR, the
“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?”
Cops File Lawsuit Over Use Of Raid Video
But the sheriff’s department employees failed to see the humor in Afroman’s use of the raid footage. In a civil complaint filed earlier this month, the seven officers maintain that their likenesses were used in the videos without their permission. They also allege they have faced difficulties performing their law enforcement duties “because of comments made and attitudes expressed toward them by members of the public” who have seen the videos. The officers say they have received death threats, and also suffered “humiliation, ridicule, mental distress, embarrassment and loss of reputation.”
The lawsuit names Afroman, his recording company and a
“Unless Defendants are restrained, Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury to their reputations, their mental health, and their legally protected rights as Defendants continue to willfully and maliciously violate those rights,” the plaintiffs wrote in their complaint.
The lawsuit brought by the law enforcement officers depicted in the music video could end up being only the first salvo in a protracted legal battle. In an
Afroman, aka Joseph Edgar Foreman, was born in Los Angeles in 1974. He got his start in the music business at an early age by recording songs and selling them to his classmates by the time he was in eighth grade. Afroman released his first album in 1998 before relocating to
The song, which detailed how marijuana could interfere with the tasks inherent to modern life, became a hit in 2001, the year the track was featured in films including Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Afroman released his latest album, Lemon Pound Cake, in September 2022.