Ohio-based rap artist Joseph Edgar Foreman, known as Afroman, has been sued by seven Adams County Sheriff’s Office officials for using footage from their 2022 search to create and promote new music. The officers accused Foreman’s use of their photos and likenesses as a “malicious” act that tarnished their reputations and defamed them, according to a complaint.
The case stems from an Aug. 21, 2022, search of Foreman’s home, which was conducted with a “lawfully issued search warrant,” according to the March 13 complaint. A photo of the warrant shared by a local Fox affiliate but not independently verified by CBS News shows the search was for possession and trafficking of marijuana and narcotics, as well as evidence of kidnapping.
Foreman, known for his song “Cause I Got High,” was not at his home during the search, but his wife was present and recorded part of the search on her phone. His home also had several security cameras that recorded the search.
After the raid, the seven members of the law enforcement agency involved — Deputies Sean Cooley, Justin Cooley, Sean Grooms and Lisa Phillips, as well as Sergeants Michael Estep and Randolph Walters Jr. and Detective Sergeant Brian Newland — said Foreman used the video recordings to record music and music about the search. Create video. There were “dozens” of videos and images across numerous social media platforms, which they said “clearly depict” their image and likeness.
They are suing him for unauthorized use of personhood, invasion of privacy by misappropriation and invasion of privacy by misrepresentation. The officials demanded a trial by jury.
Video posted by Foreman shows police breaking down his door as they enter the home with weapons drawn. He has since posted several videos showing officers moving through his home.
One of those clips apparently became the source of inspiration for her new song “Lemon Pound Cake” and was used extensively in the official music video. In the clip, officers are seen walking through her kitchen and one officer is seen looking several times at a pound cake on a cake stand on the counter. That officer was quickly referred to by Foreman on social media as “Officer Poundcake,” a nickname that Foreman also began using on merchandise.
Other officers involved were also separated from the post of foreman.
“Defendants’ actions were willful, wanton, malicious and carried out with conscious or reckless disregard for the rights of the plaintiffs,” the complaint states, adding that he was not authorized to use their personalities for commercial purposes.
Officers also claim the posts have subjected them to “taunting” and that it has made their job “more difficult and more dangerous”, saying they have since received death threats.
“Plaintiffs have suffered damages, including all profits, from Defendants’ unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s persona, and have suffered humiliation, ridicule, emotional distress, embarrassment and reputational damage,” the complaint states.
Foreman posted about the case on Instagram, saying the search itself was based on a “false warrant” that “put the Adams County Sheriff in a position to try to kill me.” He also accused the officials involved of stealing his money, saying it took away their “right to privacy”.
“My video footage is my property. … I am a law-abiding tax-paying citizen who was violated by criminals masquerading as law enforcement,” he said, adding in a statement from his lawyer that read, “We await the public from Adams County. We have yet to receive the records requests. We plan to file a lawsuit for illegal raids, theft of money and the undeniable damage it has caused to my clients’ families, careers and property.”