In a move that sets a new standard for chutzpah, seven members of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office have brought a suit against Afroman for the “emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation” they say they incurred when he publicized that they baselessly raided his house. They sued him after they broke down his door based on a warrant later demonstrated to be unfounded.
The complaint, originally obtained by Motherboard, stems from a raid conducted on Afroman’s home based on vague suspicion surrounding drugs and kidnapping. Needless to say, they didn’t find anything. But then Afroman… did not get high and instead took the footage of the incident — up until the cops disconnected his cameras in what feels like an unconstitutional move — and turned it into a music video.
The complaint alleges a general invasion of privacy, which is comical on a number of grounds. First of all, Ohio is a one-party consent state, meaning that — from a privacy perspective — Afroman can do whatever the hell he wants with a recording he set up on his own property.
Above and beyond that, alleging a privacy right over the conduct of a raid ostensibly on behalf of the public amounts to a face-melting level of stupidity. This is basic constitutional law. There’s no undercover work here, these are cops taking actions that they would have gladly blasted to the whole world if they had found any evidence.
But they were wrong, so it’s now “emotional distress” to point that out. Just so you know who the real snowflakes are in this country.
The complaint claims that the police officers have been “subjected to ridicule” by members of the public who have seen some of Afroman’s posts. The episode has allegedly “made it more difficult and even more dangerous” for them to carry out their official duties, the complaint adds. Some of that activity has included anonymous death threats, it says.
Death threats are obviously serious, but take a step back. Afroman didn’t threaten anybody. By suing him for just putting this footage out there, the argument is that armed law enforcement should never be criticized if they wrongfully bust up someone’s house. If they don’t want to face the public fallout of harassing someone based on unfounded suspicions then… be more circumspect before busting into someone’s house based on unfounded suspicions. No other occupation gets to sue people for showing them doing a bad job.
Putting on that uniform to represent the state means they’re public figures when they’re acting in the course of that duty.
Wait a second! Serious question: are these plaintiffs plants building a test case to get qualified immunity overturned? It’s the only possible explanation for something this dumb finding its way onto the docket.
For what it’s worth, Afroman is threatening to file a countersuit for damage to “my clients, family, career and property.” And there’s still some dispute over whether or not some of the money the cops seized was ever returned.
Cops Sue Afroman for ‘Emotional Distress’ After He Made Music Videos of Botched Raid [Motherboard]
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.