WEST UNION, Ohio (WMCH) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is going to bat for Afroman as a group of Adams County sheriff’s deputies take the “Because I Got High” rapper to court.

In a 21-page brief last Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio asked Adams County Judge Adam McBride to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the 48-year-old Grammy nominee, whose given name is Joseph Foreman, by sheriff’s deputies who raided his Winchester home in August.

“This case is a classic entry into the SLAPP suit genre: a meritless effort to use a lawsuit to silence criticism. And not just any criticism, but criticism specifically of government actors,” the ACLU of Ohio wrote in its brief.

On Aug. 22, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant for narcotics and kidnapping at Foreman’s home – which the ACLU of Ohio described as “highly destructive” and “ultimately fruitless.” Foreman has not been charged with either offense, according to Adams County court records.

In the months that followed, the 48-year-old Grammy nominee recorded an album titled “Lemon Pound Cake” in a call-out to one of the deputies’ double-take glance at the homemade dessert sitting on Foreman’s countertop during the raid.

Aptly named singles in the December album include “Will You Help Me Repair My Door” and “Why You Disconnecting My Video Camera,” whose music videos – plastered across Foreman’s several social media accounts – feature footage of armed deputies busting down the rapper’s door and combing through his Adams County home.

“Mama’s lemon pound cake; it tastes so nice. It made the sheriff wanna put down his gun and cut him a slice,” Foreman sings in “Lemon Pound Cake.”

In a complaint filed on March 13, Adams County deputies Shawn Cooley, Justin Cooley and Lisa Phillips, Sgts. Michael Estep and Randolph Waters Jr. and detective Sgt. Brian Newland sued Foreman for damages, calling his “willful, wanton, malicious” use of their images as a violation of their rights.

On behalf of the plaintiffs, Cincinnati attorney Robert Klingler said Foreman used the deputies’ faces in music videos, on social media and merchandise – including on a “Lemon Pound Cake” custom-made T-shirt – in order to promote his “Afroman” brand and make a profit.

“As a result of (Foreman’s) actions, (deputies) have been subjected to ridicule, even in the further performance of their official duties, by members of the public who have seen some of (Foreman’s) above-described postings,” the complaint read. “In some instances, it has made it more difficult and even more dangerous for (deputies) to carry out their official duties.”

The ACLU of Ohio, however, urged the Adams County court to reject deputies’ claims.

“Their allegations run afoul of a much deeper principle: There is nothing the First Amendment protects more jealously than criticism of public officials on a matter of public concern,” the legal advocacy group wrote in its brief.

Parties in the case are expected to appear in Adams County Common Pleas Court on June 8 for a pretrial and scheduling conference.