Police Raided Afroman Searching for a ‘Dungeon.’ His Record Label Says He Doesn’t Even Have a BasementJune 9, 2023
Officers from the Adams County Sheriff's Office in Ohio raided the residence of rapper Afroman last summer in part because a confidential informant told them Afroman has a “dungeon” where he keeps women locked up and forces them to defecate and urinate in a bucket as punishment, according to a search warrant and body camera footage shared with Motherboard. When showed the relevant section of the warrant, Afroman's record label said "Lol. That is completely fabricated and untrue. Afroman doesn’t even have a basement. Afroman has a movie coming out within the next few weeks regarding this situation, and will be filing a lawsuit against the confidential informant." (According to property website Redfin, Afroman’s residence address has a “crawl-space” style basement, which is typically a much smaller space than one a person is able to stand in).
Dot Muniz of Music Access, Inc., Afroman’s distributor, told Motherboard on Afroman’s behalf that “Afroman kindly asked me on behalf of all publications that inquire, that these allegations are entirely false. If any indication would adhere true, he would have been arrested during his unlawful police raid.”
The search warrant claims that Afroman has a basement in which Afroman “keeps women locked in, forcing them to urinate and defecate in a bucket as punishment for upsetting or disobeying him.” The search warrant claims that this basement is referred to as “the dungeon.” This information came from a confidential informant, the search warrant says. The warrant says officers are to search for drugs, but it also states that they are looking for evidence of the crime of "kidnapping."
The hours-long search of his residence turned up only a few thousand dollars cash, a colorless glass jar containing “green leafy vegetation,” THC wax, and a few pipes. Afroman has not been charged with any crime.
The news is the latest episode in an ever growing saga between Afroman, whose real name is Joseph Edgar Foreman, and the Adams County Sheriff's Office. After the raid in August 2022, Afroman made multiple songs and music videos about the event using footage of the raid taken from his home security systems; some officers have sued him in response in a legal case that is ongoing.
Motherboard also reviewed bodycam footage taken by officers at the scene, which largely shows them milling about, prodding at floorboards and wall panels to see if anything is concealed behind them, and rifling through mundane objects like binders full of compact discs. One of the officers, for instance, pulls up some green carpeting; they also get into a locked garage by pulling a window air conditioning unit through the window and jumping through it. At one point Afroman’s ex-wife shows up and, bemused, asks why the cops performed a forced entry when they could have simply asked to be allowed in.
For much of the search, the officers do not explicitly talk about what they are seemingly looking for. But after more than two hours of searching, one of the police officers eventually discovers the back wall of a closet and presses against it excitedly, summoning others. "I think it's in there,” one says. “She wasn't kidding. There it is.” But the wall is just a wall. “Empty,” a cop says. “There's nothing else in there." The footage shows a small space behind a closet that looks like this:
"Shit," one says. Another suggests it's "odd" that Afroman has a camera inside the closet. Minutes later, the officers end their search and leave.
Arthur West, an open government advocate, provided Motherboard with the bodycam footage and search warrant. West made a records request for the data, according to an email he also shared.
In response to the raid, Afroman released a series of songs about it, using footage of the cops from his home security cameras in his music videos. The songs ranged from “Lemon Pound Cake,” in which one officer is caught staring at a plate of pound cake in Afroman’s kitchen, to “Will You Help Me Repair My Door,” in which Afroman lists all the damage the cops’ raid did to his property.
The cops then sued Afroman for “emotional distress” for being ridiculed in the videos, as well as having their likenesses used without consent, and demanded four counts of $25,000 each as compensation for their humiliation on the internet. Because the footage was taken with Afroman’s own home security system, and also by his wife, there were no copyright issues, and courts have generally decided that filming the police in public is a constitutionally-protected activity.