Dr. Dre Gets Apologies From Two Cities For Video Flap

Michigan cities prevented rapper from showing videos during 2000 shows, out-of-court settlement reached.

Dr. Dre got what he wanted from the cities of Detroit and Auburn Hills, Michigan — public apologies for infringing on his First Amendment rights at two concerts he gave last summer.

Dre’s lawyers announced Wednesday (October 24) that the rapper had reached out-of-court settlements with both cities. Dre claimed police blocked him from showing videos during a July 6, 2000, stop at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena because the clips featured topless women and gun violence. A spokesperson for the Detroit mayor’s office countered at the time that the rapper voluntarily pulled the video after police told his staff they would be ticketed if the clips were shown.

On July 7, Dre obtained a court order preventing the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills from shutting down the videos when he played at the Palace of Auburn Hills that evening. Despite the court order, the city still issued the rapper a misdemeanor obscenity citation. It was later dismissed, according to Dre’s lawyer, Howard King.

In addition to issuing formal apologies, the settlement required both cities to provide First Amendment sensitivity training to their police forces, King said.

“I have directed my staff to be sensitive to any prior restraints of freedom of expression, and that they must seek judicial review before requesting changes in content of constitutionally protected expression,” Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer said in a statement.

Though Dre’s suits asked for damages totaling more than $25 million, the financial terms of the settlements only required the cities to pay the rapper’s legal bills in the cases. King said that Dre never intended to profit from the suits and that the public apologies and mandated training satisfied him.

“It’s an acknowledgement that both cities’ police forces acted with disregard to an artist’s First Amendment rights,” King said. “Hopefully, the training will prevent that from happening in the future.”