Afroman featured footage from the failed raid in a music video, prompting Adams County officers to claim that they had suffered reputational damages and other losses.
An Ohio police department has filed a lawsuit against rap artist Afroman, who recently used footage of a failed law enforcement raid on his home in a music video.
According to The Guardian, the lawsuit was filed by Adams County Sheriff’s Office officials.
In their complaint, the officers—including four deputies, a sergeant, and a detective—said that Afroman had effectively invaded their privacy, inflicting “emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation.”
“As a result of Defendants’ actions, Plaintiffs have suffered damages, including all profits derived from and attributable to Defendants’ unauthorized use of Plaintiffs’ personas, and have suffered humiliation, ridicule, mental distress, embarrassment, and loss of reputation,” the complaint states.
“These music videos clearly portray the images, likenesses, and distinctive appearances (‘personas’), of many of the officers involved in the search, including those of all Plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs, writes The Guardian, are seeking to claim all of Afroman’s profits from his use of their likenesses.
This request could encompass proceeds from the songs, music video, and live performances.
If successful, the officers could also be entitled to damages from Afroman’s various brands, which include alcohol and marijuana products as well as clothing apparel.
Attorneys for the deputies have also asked that the court issue an injunction removing the music video and its derivation from the internet.
Afroman, whose real name is Joseph Foreman, said that he plans to file a counter-lawsuit “for the undeniable damage this had on my clients, family, career and property.”
“I’m a civilian. Then, to make matters worse, I’m a Black civilian in America. The police department was not designed to serve and protect me. I felt powerless yet angry. These guys can destroy my property and I literally couldn’t do nothing about it. The only thing I could do was take to my pen and sing about the injustice. And to my surprise, it’s going over well!” he said.
The Associated Press notes that the Adams County deputies were serving a warrant that stated probable cause existed to believe that drugs and drug paraphernalia could be found on Afroman’s property.
Police sources had also indicated that other crimes—including kidnapping and human trafficking—had occurred in and around the rapper’s residence.
The allegations, writes The Associated Press, turned out to be entirely unfounded, with the raid resulting in the collection of no actionable evidence whatsoever.
Each officer is seeking $25,000 in damages per four counts.