Afroman speaks out about being sued by officers who raided his residence : NPR

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Afroman, pictured performing in 2018, made music movies that includes residence video footage of a police raid of his home final 12 months. Now a number of the officers are suing him, and he plans to countersue.

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Johnny Louis/Getty Pictures


Afroman, pictured performing in 2018, made music movies that includes residence video footage of a police raid of his home final 12 months. Now a number of the officers are suing him, and he plans to countersue.

Johnny Louis/Getty Pictures

After police in Ohio raided Afroman’s home final August, the rapper — identified for early aughts hits together with “As a result of I Received Excessive” and “Loopy Rap (Colt 45 and a pair of Zig-Zags)” — determined to make one thing out of it.

Regulation enforcement had searched his residence on suspicion of drug trafficking and kidnapping, however discovered no proof and filed no expenses towards him. He says they kicked down his door, broke his video surveillance system, stole cash from him and frightened his household.

Afroman, whose actual identify is Joseph Foreman, informed NPR in a cellphone interview that what he did subsequent was his “smartest, most peaceable answer.”

“I requested myself, as a powerless Black man in America, what can I do to the cops that kicked my door in, tried to kill me in entrance of my youngsters, stole my cash and disconnected my cameras?” he says. “And the one factor I might provide you with was make a humorous rap tune about them and make some cash, use the cash to pay for the damages they did and transfer on.”

He launched an album with songs concerning the raid and made music movies out of the surveillance footage. He created merchandise and social media posts calling out the officers who had been concerned.

Now, a few of them are suing him, his label, and a Texas-based music distribution firm for invasion of privateness.

4 deputies, two sergeants and one detective from the Adams County Sheriff’s Workplace are accusing the rapper of cashing in on the unauthorized use of their likenesses, at their private {and professional} expense.

In a grievance filed in an Ohio pleas courtroom final week, they are saying it has been tougher and harmful to hold out their duties “due to feedback made and attitudes expressed towards them by members of the general public” who’ve seen the movies.

They are saying they’ve obtained demise threats, and in addition suffered “humiliation, ridicule, psychological misery, embarrassment and lack of fame.”

The plaintiffs are in search of all of Afroman’s income from using their personas — together with proceeds of songs, movies and dwell occasions, in addition to Afroman-branded merchandise comparable to beer, marijuana and t-shirts — in addition to a courtroom injunction to take down the music movies and social media posts.

“Until Defendants are restrained, Plaintiffs will endure irreparable harm to their reputations, their psychological well being, and their legally protected rights as Defendants proceed to willfully and maliciously violate these rights,” they wrote.

The plaintiff’s lawyer and the sheriff’s workplace haven’t but responded to NPR’s requests for remark.

Afroman says his speedy response to the lawsuit was “a drop of anger, disbelief and a bit nervousness, adopted by tons of laughter.”

“I used to be pondering, these large dangerous cops … are being beat up and bullied by these little corny rap songs I made about them,” Afroman says. “I am like, ‘Oh my god, are you letting me know that my raps are engaged on you?'”

He says he was already pursuing a defamation lawsuit towards the police, and that they’ve made that course of simpler as a result of now his authorized staff simply must countersue, which they plan to do quickly.

“I need to sue them for stealing my cash, I need to sue them for writing ‘kidnapping’ on a warrant and making me endure financially in my trade as a result of simply that accusation makes folks elevate an eyebrow about you,” he provides.

Police scoured the home with weapons drawn

Officers obtained a warrant to conduct a search of Afroman’s residence on August 21, 2022, in accordance with the grievance.

A copy of the warrant, obtained by Cincinnati FOX affiliate WXIX-TV, alleged that there have been medicine, drug paraphernalia, cash and weapons related to drug trafficking and kidnapping.

Afroman informed NPR that he has no concept the place the kidnapping accusation got here from, and had nothing extra in his home than the ends of some blunts and unused pipes made for him by followers.

In his Wednesday put up, he accused a “racist decide” of signing a “fictitious false warrant.”

Afroman was out of city on the day of the raid. However his ex-wife and children, then 10 and 12, dwell close by and came visiting once they noticed the police presence. She recorded components of the raid on her cellphone, whereas different scenes had been captured by safety video cameras round the home.

No expenses got here from the search, however that wasn’t the top of the story.

Afroman says he needed to restore his door, an exterior gate and his safety system wiring, which price him practically $20,000.

He additionally accuses police of stealing from him. The officers had confiscated greater than $5,000 in money through the raid, which Afroman says had been earnings from performances.

It was finally returned to him, however with $400 lacking. Simply final month, an investigation concluded that deputies had miscounted the unique quantity — a declare that Afroman continues to dispute.

“They turned thieves and stole my cash,” he wrote on Instagram. “After they stole my cash they turned criminals. After they turned criminals they misplaced their proper of privateness.”

“Lemon Pound Cake” got here as a type of revenge

Afroman launched an album referred to as Lemon Pound Cake only a month later. Two of its songs reference the raid and embrace residence footage of their music movies.

A kind of songs is the title observe, impressed by a second through the raid during which an officer, strolling by way of the kitchen together with his gun drawn, broke his focus to look down at a cake dish on the counter.

It tells the story to the tune of The Drifters’ “Underneath the Boardwalk.”

“Mama’s lemon pound cake, it tastes so good, it made the sheriff need to put down his gun and minimize him a slice,” Afroman sings at one level, earlier than evaluating the officer to Household Man‘s Peter Griffin.

YouTube

Afroman’s on-line merchandise retailer peddles sweatshirts (at the moment bought out) and t-shirts exhibiting Griffin and a big lemon cake, surrounded by black-and-white photographs of the officer from the video, with the names Afroman and “Officer Pound Cake.”

The video for an additional quantity, referred to as “Will You Assist Me Restore My Door,” is a montage of clips from the raid.

It reveals officers standing outdoors of his home and kicking down his door, in addition to combing by way of his closet, turning over his CD assortment and flipping by way of a wad of money.

“Did you discover what you was on the lookout for?” he sings. “Will you assist me restore my gate and door?”

Afroman additionally created dozens of movies and pictures of the officers’ personas and posted them on social media websites together with YouTube, Fb, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok.

The lawsuit factors to a number of of these posts, a lot of which have since been deleted. Based mostly on descriptions within the grievance, a lot of them promote the Lemon Pound Cake album and merchandise.

Additionally they disparage the decide and officers concerned within the search: evaluating an officer to Quasimodo (the Hunchback of Notre-Dame) and the decide to the cartoon character Droopy, accusing the cops of theft and referring to them as “KKKops” from “Adams KKKounty.”

He says he did not got down to make a hateful album; he simply needed to snigger about it. That is introduced him a way of victory, he provides.

“Me laughing at them, making songs about them, is extra highly effective than their authority,” he says. “It is extra highly effective than their assault rifles, it is extra highly effective than what they received as a result of I received these large dangerous powerful guys crying and whining about my songs, on my web page, in my world.”

Afroman is doubling down

Afroman says the response from followers and venues has been constructive.

“My greatest worry was all of this being an enormous deal to me however to not my followers — my followers being like, ‘So what, you bought raided dude, shut up and sing ‘As a result of I Received Excessive,”” he says.

Actually, he says it is solely led to extra publicity and alternatives. Afroman says he is getting calls from folks he hasn’t heard from in years — or at the very least since a couple of months in the past when the raid occurred.

“These guys are as soon as once more making me an even bigger star,” he says of the police. “I do not need to pay these guys nothing, however worst case state of affairs if I needed to pay them, off the publicity and fame they gave me it is likely to be honest simply to shuffle them a couple of cash.”

He is pondering of engaged on one other album, with a reputation like Lemon Pound Cake Half 2. Most albums have 7-10 songs, he says, so he would write one about every officer “and see how good I might humiliate them.”

Afroman says by making merchandise and cracking jokes, he turned a nasty factor into an excellent factor. And he hopes others can apply that lesson in their very own lives.

“I simply need folks to do the most effective they will,” he provides. “I need to see folks take a look at me and say what a sport, what an excellent peaceable constructive transfer to make underneath such dangerous circumstances.”



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