On March 24 2023, the most popular post on Reddit’s r/all was a post about musician Afroman — who made a music video out of a botched raid of his home by Ohio law enforcement — being sued by officers for “emotional distress” and related issues:
After the Adams County Sheriff's Office raided the home of Afroman and found nothing, Afroman turned footage of the raid into a music video. Now, the officers are suing over "emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation.”https://t.co/ARdY1pKamk
— steven monacelli (@stevanzetti) March 23, 2023
An easily accessed link was in the tweet, but it didn’t function as a link in screenshot form. On January 6 2023, Vice.com published “Afroman Got Raided by Cops, So He Put Them in His Music Video,” explaining:
Afroman isn’t the first rapper to turn a damaging experience with law enforcement into music, but he’s definitely the first to shout out his mom’s lemon pound cake in the process. After the Adams County Sheriff’s Office conducted a raid on his Ohio property in 2022 with a warrant for drug trafficking and kidnapping, Afroman, real name Joseph Foreman, told VICE he lost out on gigs and felt angry and powerless. He channeled that energy into a pair of songs, “Lemon Pound Cake” and “Will You Help Me Repair My Door,” with music videos that feature actual footage of deputies smashing their way onto his property, rifling through his belongings, and checking out the baked goods sitting on his counter before they cut power to his personal security cameras altogether. Clips from Afroman’s music videos have since gone viral on TikTok. He was never charged with a crime, and maintains that the sheriff’s department stole $400 of his money that they seized during the raid.
When asked for comment, Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers said the result of a neighboring sheriff’s office investigation into Afroman’s claim is imminent. He also that the attention the rapper’s songs have generated has turned into a wave of threats against his deputies. “I can handle it, but I don’t appreciate some of the messages coming in about Adams County deputies getting ambushed, ‘I hope they die slow,’” Rogers said. “It’s kind of tolling on some of the officers. I doubt that your family would want that said about you.”
Monacelli’s tweet linked to a March 22 2023 WXIX-TV article. WXIX-TV was based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and described a lawsuit filed by Adams County Sheriff’s Office employees:
Seven members of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office who raided Joseph Foreman’s home [in 2022] are now suing him claiming, among other things, that he invaded their privacy.
Four deputies, two sergeants and a detective are claiming Foreman (a.k.a. “Afroman”) took footage of their faces obtained during the raid and used it in music videos and social media posts without their consent, a misdemeanor violation under Ohio Revised Code.
They’re also suing on civil grounds, saying Foreman’s use of their faces (i.e. personas) in the videos and social media posts resulted in their “emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation.”
The plaintiffs say they’re entitled to all of Foreman’s profits from his use of their personas …
On March 23 2023, The Guardian provided details of the initial “raid” of Afroman’s house:
Police officers who conducted a botched armed raid of rapper Afroman’s home [in 2022] have filed a lawsuit against him for invasion of privacy and emotional distress after he used footage of it in his music videos.
Earlier [in March 2023], police officers Shawn D Cooley, Justin Cooley, Michael D Estep, Shawn D Grooms, Brian Newland, Lisa Phillips and Randolph L Walters, Jr, filed the lawsuit in Adams county, Ohio, against Afroman, alleging that the rapper and others including his record label used the officers’ likenesses for commercial purposes.
According to court documents, police officers conducted a search of Afroman’s residence last August , “pursuant to a lawfully issued search warrant”. According to the warrant, the search was carried out as part of an investigation into drug possession and trafficking, as well as kidnapping.
Following the raid, Adams county prosecutor’s office said officers found no probative criminal evidence, and Afroman faced no charges.
A March 24 2023 AV Club item about the suit quoted a lawyer for Afroman:
“We are waiting for public records requests from Adam’s [sic] county we still have not received,” Afroman’s lawyer Anna Castellini says in a statement, shared in the same post. “We are planning to counter sue for the unlawful raid, money being stolen, and for the undeniable damage this had on my [client’s] family, career and property.”
Several social media posts referencing a lawsuit filed against Afroman by seven employees of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office went viral in March 2023, reporting that the law enforcement officers objected to Afroman’s use of footage from a raid in music videos (and on social media). In January 2023, Vice.com reported that Afroman used footage of a real raid in two videos. In March 2023, the employees sued Afroman for the use of their likenesses, and the claim was accurate.