Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Do police have a reasonable expectation of privacy during a raid?

Do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy when you break into a famous rapper's house with an AR-15 and take his money? A group of Ohio sheriff's deputies thinks so, according to Reason.

Seven Adams County Sheriff's deputies have filed a lawsuit against Afroman for using footage of them raiding his house in several music videos, FOX19 reports. The deputies argue Afroman used their personas for commercial purposes without permission, causing them to suffer "embarrassment, ridicule, emotional distress, humiliation, and loss of reputation."

The Adams County deputies executed a search warrant on Afroman's house last August. According to a search warrant, Afroman was suspected of drug possession, drug trafficking, and kidnapping. The bust came up empty, and Afroman was never charged with a crime. Deputies did, however, seize more than $5,000 in cash, which they were ultimately forced to return. (The returned amount was $400 short, which an investigation later determined was due to a counting error by deputies.)

Afroman then used surveillance footage of the raid and cellphone video taken by his wife in two music videos, "Lemon Pound Cake" and "Will You Help Me Repair My Door." He also sold merchandise with images of the deputies and used the footage to promote his products and tours.

The complaint claims Afroman used their likenesses in dozens of social media posts, "subjecting them to undue ridicule."

"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 attitude expressed toward them by members of the public," the lawsuit says.

Of course, if they had spent their time solving real crimes instead of trundling around Afroman's house playing drug warrior, they would have remained happily anonymous.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to take down the posts and videos, as well as more than $25,000 in damages.

In an Instagram post following the filing of the suit, Afroman shared a statement from his attorney Anna Castellini: "We are waiting for public records requests from Adam's county we still have not 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."

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