Joseph Edgar Foreman, better known as Afroman, was recently sued by seven members of law enforcement who raided his home last August. Now, the rapper says he’s suing them back.
On Aug. 21, 2021, a number of armed Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies pushed through the gate to Afroman’s property in Adams County, Ohio. Some of the deputies then knocked one of the doors off the hinges to gain entry to the residence itself.
According to the search warrant authorized by Adams County Court Judge Roy E. Gabbert, the sheriff’s office claimed they had probable cause to believe they would find evidence of drug trafficking and kidnapping inside the rapper’s and his family’s home.
But they didn’t find any of that.
No criminal charges were filed. After a sustained furor rose over the raid, Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers, months later, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that charges could be filed pending lab results.
The lab results apparently did not vindicate those claims about the rapper either. The Adams County Prosecutor’s Office said the raid failed to turn up any probative criminal evidence, Afroman’s attorney Anna Castellini told Cincinnati-based Fox affiliate WXIX.
But the raid did result in the online equivalent of a hit single for the rapper who is largely known for two comedic and marijuana-themed songs: “Because I Got High” and “Crazy Rap” aka “Colt 45.”
In late December 2022, Afroman released the song: “Will You Help Me Repair My Door” which begins with the following lyrics: “Will you help me repair my gate? Will you help me repair my door? Did you find what you were looking for? Will you help me repair my gate and door?”
The YouTube video for the song has amassed well over 2.8 million views as of this writing.
In the music video, the opening bars of the song are set against footage culled from Afroman’s home security system that captured a large part of the raid – until the cameras were shut off by sheriff’s deputies. The song later references the camera disabling incident and the video appears to show deputies disabling the recording devices – as well as the alleged damage to the gate and the destruction of the door set against the corresponding lyrics.
“They come up here with AR-15, traumatize my kids, destroyed my property, kick in my door, rip up and destroy my camera system,” the rapper told WXIX in the aftermath of the raid.
The entire music video is made up of footage from Afroman’s security cameras and his wife’s cellphone – and depicts a deputy, with his pistol drawn, who appears to be looking at a poundcake in a tiered cake holder. Other deputies are seen with their assault-style rifles drawn.
A second song called “Lemon Pound Cake” specifically poked fun at ACSO Deputy Shawn Cooley over what the music videos and songs suggested was a desire to take the cake during the raid. The second song has not been as successful as the first but has amassed nearly 400,000 views as of this writing.
The law enforcement flop and the lighthearted response to the scare of the raid later accrued to Afroman’s substantial financial gain, the lawsuit filed in Adams County earlier this month alleges.
The filing describes a deleted post about Cooley and the poundcake:
Instagram post containing an image of Foreman wearing a shirt with an image of Plaintiff Shawn Cooley next to an image of Peter Griffin (Family Guy). Caption: “Good Morning Ladies!!! What up Fellas??? Congratulations to Police Officer Poundcake Thank you for getting me 5.4 MILLION hits on TikTok I couldn’t have done it without you obviously! Congratulations again you’re famous for all the wrong reasons. As you can see all my poundcake is gone officer poundcake confiscated my poundcake he said something happened to his body camera on the way to the evidence room lol
Now, Cooley and three other deputies, two sergeants, and a detective who were involved in the raid want their cut – namely, all of the profits the rapper made from the songs, including live performances, copies of albums sold, other merchandise, and his “Afroman” branded products that include beer, marijuana, and T-shirts.
The lawsuit claims the music videos showed the plaintiff’s faces without their consent – and that he subsequently meant, made fun of, and spread false information about the plaintiffs in follow-up social media posts on various platforms like “Facebook, YouTube, Snap Chat, tick tok [sic] and Instagram.”
“Plaintiffs have been subjected to ridicule, even in the further performance of their official duties, by members of the public who have seen some of Defendants’ above-described postings,” the lawyer alleges. “In some instances, it has made it more difficult and even more dangerous for Plaintiffs to carry out their official duties because of comments made and attitudes expressed towards them by members of the public.”
The filing also names Afroman’s recording company and a Texas-based media distribution company as defendants.
The lawsuit lists numerous causes of action, including invasion of privacy by misappropriation, false light, and unreasonable publicity given to private lives. Aside from monetary damages, the plaintiffs want an injunction to remove the offending videos and posts because they subject the ACSO personnel to “undue ridicule, mental distress, and danger by posting untrue and demeaning depictions of them on social media and elsewhere.”
The rapper and his attorney addressed the March 13 lawsuit this week.
“Essentially a racist judge signed a fictitious false warrant, lying on the warrant, accusing me of kidnapping and drug trafficking,” the rapper said in a Wednesday Instagram post. “After the Adams County Sheriff. Burglarized vandalized and destroyed my property. They became thieves and stole my money. After they stole my money they became criminals. After they became criminals they lost their right of privacy.”
“My video footage is my property,” the rapper’s post goes on. “I used it to identify the criminals who broke into my house, and stole my money. I used it to identify criminals, who broke into my house, stole my money and disconnected my home security system. I use my footage of my property to raise money to pay for the damages they did and to identify the criminals operating inside of the sheriff department that stole my money.”
A lingering issue in the failed raid and its consequence is the matter of some $400 missing from the $5,031 total seized and put into evidence after it was returned to the hip-hop star; Afroman claims the money was stolen; Sheriff Rogers told the Cincinnati Enquirer that theft was “rare” in his department; An independent investigation that wrapped up last month determined that deputies must have miscounted the initial amount.
“You’re not going to get hired by the sheriff’s station, and you don’t know how to count,” Afroman told WXIX. “When something is a miscount, it normally lands on an odd count. $400 even isn’t just going to come up coincidentally.”
In a statement at the end of the recent Instagram post, Castellini said their side is “waiting for public records requests” that have yet to be 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,” the attorney’s statement says.
The full lawsuit is available below:
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