Earlier this year, hip-hop artist and record producer Dr. Dre made headlines when a lawsuit by Detroit city councilor Gary Brown targeting him reached the Michigan Supreme Court.
While Dre was performing Joe Louis Arena back in 2000, Brown, who was a police official at the time, confronted concert organizers backstage and threatened to have the power shut down if they showed a sexually explicit video at the show. The confrontation with Brown was filmed and made it into Dre’s “Up in Smoke Tour” DVD. Not content with one act of censorship, Brown sued Dre, claiming his privacy was violated by the video. Dre’s attorney Herschel Fink, who in the past had successfully sued the city over Brown’s attempt to censor the concert, defended Dre and argued that Brown, as a police officer, had no expectation of privacy.
Initially, lower courts sided with Brown, but Dre and Fink brought the case all the way to Michigan’s Supreme Court. The Court finally sided with Dre and Fink 6-1 earlier this month. It’s outrageous that the lower courts sided with Brown, but it’s great news that Dre’s legal battle has resulted in the state’s Supreme Court establishing this precedent for filming police.