$5M in damages upheld in Greensboro officers’ suit against rapper

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina appeals court on Tuesday upheld part of a 2010 ruling that awards $5 million in compensatory damages to five Greensboro police officers who filed a defamation lawsuit against rapper Jayceon Taylor, more commonly known as “The Game.”

The officers filed the suit in 2006 against Taylor and Bungalo Records, Inc.  The suit claimed the officers were libeled and slandered, and that their identities were wrongfully used in a documentary-style DVD produced by Taylor and Bungalo. The DVD was titled “Stop Snitchin’ Stop Lyin’.”

The officers’ appearance in the DVD stems from an  incident in October 2005.  Taylor and his entourage were at Four Seasons Mall on the day the rapper was set to perform in Winston-Salem, but a mall security officer had asked them to leave for causing a disturbance.  The security officer called police for help, and the officers ended up arrested Taylor for criminal trespassing, communicating threats, and disorderly conduct.

A member of Taylor’s entourage videotaped the arrest, after which an edited version was used in a bonus feature within the DVD.  The video was “heavily edited” and made it appear “as though Taylor was wrongfully arrested,” the court ruling states.  The DVD was also marketed as showing the full arrest, said the court.

The officers, who would receive $1 million each for the compensatory damages, are Hien Nguyen, Matthew Brown, Ryan Childrey, Romaine Watkins, and David Gregory.

PDF: Read the 32-page court ruling

The officers’ suit also claims $10 million in punitive damages, however the appeals court decided that a new trial would be set to determine if the punitive damages are justified.

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