Joseph Edgar Foreman, better known as Afroman, is being sued by seven deputies from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio for using footage from a 2022 home raid for new music and a music video.
The rapper became popular for his hit song “Because I Got High” in 2001.
According to court documents, the search that was conducted on Aug. 21, 2022, was executed based on a “lawfully issued warrant.” Police combed the rapper’s house for evidence of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and kidnapping related to an investigation, according to the warrant. Adams County prosecutors said they found no probative criminal evidence, and Foreman didn’t face any charges.
“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!” Foreman told Vice News in January.
The seven plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit are Deputy Shawn Cooley, Deputy Justin Cooley, Deputy Shawn Grooms, Deputy Lisa Phillips, Sgt. Michael Estep, Sgt. Randolph Walters Jr., and Detective Sgt. Brian Newland.
The video footage showed the officers searching through Foreman’s garage, his closets, basement, clothes, dressers, drawers and kitchen. They tore down several doors and took money from his home.
Foreman was not at home during the search, but his wife was. She took footage from her cellphone.
The wife’s footage and home security video were used for Foreman’s song titled “Will You Help Me Repair My Door” in a six-minute music video. Another song he released titled “Lemon Pound Cake” was inspired by an officer constantly walking through his kitchen and eyeing a pound cake. Foreman referenced that officer as “Officer Pound Cake” and used the name to sell merchandise.
The officers stated that they are suing him for unauthorized use of their personas, invasion of privacy, and shedding a false light on their search to the public. They also claimed Foreman’s actions were “willful, wanton, malicious, and done with conscious or reckless disregard” and that they have received death threats. Each officer is seeking $25,000 per count mentioned in the lawsuit.
“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 stated.
Foreman responded to their lawsuit by saying the video footage was his property.
“My video footage is my property. … I am a law-abiding taxpaying citizens who was violated by criminals camouflaged by law-enforcement,” said Foreman on his Instagram page. “We are waiting for public records requests from Adam’s county we still have not received. 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.”
Social media reactions showed that fans were in support of Afroman’s unique creativity.
“Well they should sue all the bad cops across America first,” one fan wrote.
Another comment said, “Public servants…performing a public service…ILLEGALLY. Their reputation should have already been ruined, and it seems, quite frankly, that humiliation is warranted under the circumstances.”
In addition to the music and videos, Foreman also took to Instagram to promote merchandise. One Instagram post pictured Foreman wearing a shirt with officer Cooley next to the popular cartoon character Peter Griffin to make fun of the way he looks.
Another post from Instagram mentioned the judge that signed the search warrant, Judge Roy Gabbert.
The post from Foreman read:
“This is the judge that signed the warrant that said kidnapping. His name is Roy Droopy Gabbert. Vote him out before he signs a fictitious warrant then send some over reacting paranoid KKKops to your House jeopardizing the lives of you and your family, Stealing your money and disconnecting your home video security surveillance system…”
According to reports, Foreman mentioned he lost paid show gigs due to the false kidnapping allegation. He did, however, receive the money that was confiscated from his home during the raid.