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Lawsuit against Afroman from officers who raided his home explained

Rapper Afroman is being sued by seven law enforcement officers who raided his house, after he used footage of the incident in his music videos.

Afroman, real name Joseph Edgar Foreman, spoke out on Wednesday against the case on his social media channels and suggested he’s preparing to launch a suit of his own against the Ohio sheriffs who took part in the police raid. Afroman had shared footage of the police raid on his home in August 2022.

Now, “Because I Got High” singer Afroman is being sued by seven of the officers involved in the raid after he used the footage for music videos.

Posted on his YouTube channel, the music video for “Will You Help Me Repair My Door” shows footage of officers entering the premises via the front gate and door. There’s also footage of the raid included in “I’m A Have a Good Time” and “Lemon Pound Cake.”

Four deputies, two sergeants and a detective from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Utah, are claiming invasion of privacy and brought the case about earlier in March 2023, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The plaintiffs say Afroman used footage of their faces and broadcast them in music videos without their permission, causing them “emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation.”

The plaintiffs are seeking all of Foreman’s profits from his use of their personas, according to AP. This includes proceeds from the songs, music videos and live event tickets, as well as his branded merchandise like beer, marijuana and T-shirts. They also seek a court injunction to take down all the videos and posts containing their personas.

Newsweek has reached out to the Adam’s County Sheriff’s Office for further comment.

Afroman shared the post, in which he announced he would countersue, on Instagram. In the statement, he accused law enforcement of a number of misdeeds.

He started by suggesting a “racist” judge song and signed a warrant that accused him of “kidnapping and drug-trafficking.” Afroman accused officers of destroying, and vandalizing his property, as well as stealing his money.

“After they stole my money they became criminals. After they became criminals they lost their right of privacy. My house is my property, my video camera films, everything on my property. […] Criminals caught in the act,” Afroman wrote on Wednesday.

In November 2022, Afroman shared news footage on his Instagram channel which showed the Adam’s County Sheriff’s office had dropped all charges against Afroman, but he said that $400 in cash that was taken to the evidence room had gone missing.

A review by the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation had found that the deputies had miscounted the amount seized during the raid itself.

“And now a statement from my attorney Anna Castellini,” concluded Afroman in his most recent post. “‘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.'”

“We do expect to be successful [in the defamation lawsuit] and we plan on countersuing,” Afroman’s attorney Castellini told Newsweek. “This lawsuit was filed by individuals acting within the scope of their professional duties as police officers. The public has a vested interest in the behavior of those who are supposed to protect and serve so he had a right to film them. These were his images , filmed in his own home, of public servants executing a search warrant.”

“It is unfortunate that the officers were harassed by third parties but that was not at the direction of my client and he had nothing to do with it.”

“This case is an interesting crossroads of criminal law and rights of publicity doctrine,” Jason Lampert, partner and criminal defense counsel at Salzano Ettinger Lampert & Wilson, LLP, told Newsweek.

“The main claim by the officers is that their likenesses were used without their consent. This lawsuit will be determined by how the Ohio court ultimately interprets the right of privacy laws and whether the use of the officers’ images has any first amendment protection that Mr .Foreman [Afroman] can assert. If that defense fails, the Court could very likely rule that Mr. Foreman [Afroman] violated the officer’s publicity rights,” Lampert said.

The music videos in question are all available to watch on YouTube, and have not been removed despite the impending legal action taken by the Adam’s County Sheriff’s Office.

Rapper Afroman is being sued by seven law enforcement officers who raided his house, after he used footage of the incident in his music videos.

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