(NEW YORK) — After his home was raided by cops last year, despite no criminal charges, rapper Afroman said he decided to turn his emotions over the incident into his art.
“The best thing I came up with was to write songs about my experience and try to sell them and make some money to pay for the destruction that they brought to my house,” the “Because I Got High” singer told ABC News Live.
But now, he’s facing a court battle over that song’s music video, which features footage of the Aug. 21, 2022, incident taken from his security cameras, because the police say it ruined their officers’ reputations.
Afroman, whose real name is Joseph Edgar Foreman, contends that he was in his right to express his frustration with what unfolded at his home in Winchester, Ohio.
Deputies from the Adams County Sheriff’s Department pulled up in tactical gear, broke down his door and went through his rooms and belongings, including his collection of cars, during a search warrant.
The warrant claimed the deputies were investigating drug and kidnapping allegations and alleged that the police received a tip from a confidential informant who had seen large amounts of weed and money at the property and claimed Afroman kept women locked in his basement.
No one was found inside the residence and the rapper was never charged.
Afroman, who wasn’t at home at the time of the incident, said he saw the raid from live security camera footage on his phone.
“I felt powerless,” he said.
Afroman claimed the head officer involved in the incident denied his request for help to fix the damage to his home.
“So I got to start from right there and figure out what’s my move,” he said.
Afroman wrote three songs about the incident, including one titled “Will You Help Me Repair My Door,” and released music videos that featured the security footage.
Three months after the songs were released, Afroman said he received a letter from the sheriff’s office claiming they were suing him over the videos and songs claiming the officers “suffered humiliation, ridicule, mental distress, embarrassment, and loss of reputation after the music videos were released.”
Their claim demanded they should receive the proceeds that Afroman made using their image.
The Adams County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment citing ongoing litigation.
Robert Klinger, the attorney representing the officers, said in a statement to ABC News, “I intend to argue my client’s case in the Adams County Court, not in the court of public opinion or the press.”
Channa Llyod, an ABC News legal contributor, said the case does raise serious questions about what are the boundaries of privacy in a court of law.
“Officers acting in their job, executing their job functions, is typically not going to rise to the level of a violation of privacy,” she said.