Still sick, but I think the congestion is clearing up. Not in a way that makes my head any less filled with sludge, but in a way that I’m not leaking as much.
On an unrelated note, a funny-not-funny story came across my twitter feed, and I figured I’d share it with you, my adoring readers. I’m generally pretty out of touch when it comes to pop culture, but I do remember the song Because I Got High coming around when I was in high school. Until today, that song (the version played on radio anyway) was all I really knew about the artist. I didn’t even know he went by “Afroman”.
Well, as it turns out, his home got raided last year by a whole bunch of cops apparently looking for narcotics and kidnapping victims. Like I said, I don’t know much about the guy. I think the odds are good that he had cannabis somewhere, which the U.S. government erroneously calls a “narcotic”, but I think it’s much more likely that someone lied in the process of getting the warrant. The thing is, Afroman had security cameras in his home, and so got footage of the cops breaking his gate, breaking down his door, going through all of his stuff, and taking at least some of the cash they found in the process. They also messed with his security cameras.
Now, my non-USian readers may not be aware of this, but in addition to the problem of white supremacy in law enforcement, cops also have a habit of raiding homes based on flimsy evidence (or just raiding the wrong homes), destroying property, traumatizing and sometimes assaulting or killing people, and leaving without an apology or any compensation for the destruction. I don’t know about you, but that would piss me off, and if I had video of someone breaking into my home and stealing my money – yeah, I’d probably post the footage and write about it. What I wouldn’t do is make a music video, because I am not a musician.
Afroman, on the other hand, is.
Now, if cops were halfway decent people, were at all secure in themselves, or had a sense of humor, they’d see the funny in this, and move on. They fucked up and it made them look bad. Unfortunately, it seems that all cops are, well… They’re suing him for emotional distress and violation of privacy because he filmed them breaking into his home on a bullshit warrant, and made a music video or two with the footage:
Seven members of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office who raided Joseph Foreman’s home last year are now suing him claiming, among other things, that he invaded their privacy.
Four deputies, two sergeants and a detective are claiming Foreman (a.k.a. “Afroman”) took footage of their faces obtained during the raid and used it in music videos and social media posts without their consent, a misdemeanor violation under Ohio Revised Code.
They’re also suing on civil grounds, saying Foreman’s use of their faces (i.e. personas) in the videos and social media posts resulted in their “emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation.”
The plaintiffs say they’re entitled to all of Foreman’s profits from his use of their personas. That includes, according to the complaint, proceeds from the songs, music videos and live event tickets as well as the promotion of Foreman’s “Afroman” brand, under which he sells beer, marijuana, t-shirts and other merchandise.
Oh yeah, that’s right – they broke into his home, traumatized his kids, broke the home itself, and stole money from him, knowing that there’s basically no way for them to be held accountable for damage or rights violations, but they are the victims here. I’m willing to bet that this lawsuit is both amplifying their humiliation far, far beyond what it otherwise would have been, and it’s probably also increasing Afroman’s profits from the whole affair. Maybe this whole thing would have gone better for them if they’d apologized and offered to help him repair his door.
On the question of “why was kidnapping on the warrant?”, I’m inclined to think that it was to justify a no-knock raid where they broke his door off its frame and went in with guns drawn. “Kidnapping” seems to be the go-to justification for violent raids. To me, that says they wanted an excuse to kill him, either “accidentally” or on purpose. I’m sort of dismissing the idea that they honestly had reason to believe there was a kidnapping victim there, not just because they didn’t find any evidence of it, but also because, as I’ve said before, cops lie all the time, get warrants for this shit far too easily, and suffer zero consequences for destroying homes and lives. At this point there’s far more reason to doubt cops than to believe anything they say.
Afroman’s response to the lawsuit sums things up well, I think:
“They can tear my door off the hinges, steal my money, disconnect my camera, and now in their lawsuit they’re saying I’m humiliating them,” Foreman tells Rolling Stone. “They humiliated me! So I guess I won the humiliation contest.”
Foreman was in Chicago when the cops raided his home on Aug. 21, 2022. His now ex-wife was there, however, and took several videos to accompany all the footage from the security cameras. Foreman says she also FaceTimed him so he could speak with one of the officers. He remembers asking the officer if they’d found anything, or if he was under arrest. He claims the officer replied “No” to both questions.
Foreman says he then asked, “Will you help me put my door back on the hinges?” The artist says the officer “cracked this grin, started waddling his head, and said, ‘I’m not required to do that.’”
That interaction provided the primary fodder for “Will You Help Me Repair My Door?,” with the song offering a comprehensive beat-by-beat breakdown of the raid. Foreman croons about — and shares actual video of — the cops searching his suit pockets and CD collection, disconnecting his security system, breaking down his front door, and allegedly taking his “legal, work-hard-everyday, pay-taxes money.” (The aforementioned money issue involved the Adams County Sheriff’s Office coming up $400 short when they returned the confiscated cash to Foreman last November; the issue was finally resolved in February after an independent investigation.)
Whatever money Foreman has made off the situation now appears to be in the crosshairs of the seven plaintiffs from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. The officers are seeking damages in excess of $25,000 on four of the counts listed in the suit, as well as attorneys fees, and a court order that would prohibit Foreman from publishing any other content related to the raid. (A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not return Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.)
Foreman, however, hardly seems phased. On Wednesday, March 22, he shared a statement from his lawyer, Anna Castellini, on Instagram, who said they’re awaiting the results of a public records request from Adams County and are “planning to counter sue for the unlawful raid, money being stolen, and for the undeniable damage this had on [Foreman’s] family, career and property.”
Because of the raid, and especially the issue over the confiscated cash, Foreman believes it’s important to “identify” the officers involved. “The public needs to know,” he says. “Because when they keep stuff quiet in little rooms, it might take a crazy turn. But when the public is aware, they go to do something that makes sense.”
These people are supposed to be public servants. We’re told every day that they protect and serve the people, even as it becomes more obvious every day that they serve the wealthy capitalist class, and the white supremacist hierarchy of the United States. In that interview, Afroman talks about how the stuff mentioned in Because I Got High, like missing court dates and having cars impounded, isn’t funny at all, but turning it into humor can be a way to process and cope with hard times. Likewise, having your kids and spouse held at gunpoint isn’t funny, but the songs that he made out of it absolutely are. I’m going to conclude with that, and leave you with what I would call the most angry of the songs I’ve heard about this (which is still an incredibly goofy music video). I think I would have just been angry, but he took something horrific, and made it funny.
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
The absolute fucking audacity of those cops disgusts me.
Abe Drayton says
Every time I think I’ve seen the bottom of the barrel, they reveal a whole new section, also filled with rotten apples.
I’m imagining the thought process went along the lines of “who does this [n-word] think he is?”, to which the answer which doesn’t seem to have occurred to them is “an internationally famous musician with global reach and powerful friends”.
I mean, these people were obviously stupid, but that they turn out to be THIS stupid is near unbelievable. I’d really like their names to become as internationally famous as Afroman’s.
Thank you for highlighting those songs . And thank you Afroman . They were hilarious even though the incident was upsetting !
Ada Christine says
i got a good chuckle out of the “lemon pound cake” song
i hope he wins his lawsuit