Insane Clown Posse Lose 'Gang' Lawsuit Against The FBI

9 July 2014 | 4:22 pm | Staff Writer

Their Juggalo fan base will remain legally labelled with the undesirable tag

More Insane Clown Posse More Insane Clown Posse

A federal judge in the United States has ruled that the Insane Clown Posse fan community – known colloquially as Juggalos – is legally a gang, scuttling a lawsuit the hip-hop troupe had brought against the FBI and Justice Department to prevent vilification of its enthusiasts.

As the Associated Press reports, US District Judge Robert Cleland has dismissed the lawsuit filed by ICP members Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler) after a 2011 bureau report first labelled Juggalos as “gang” material, with the performers claiming their fans had consequently been subject to disproportionate police attention due to accessories or bodily adornments that sport the group's hatchet-toting running-man logo.

In the suit, which was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Bruce and Utsler claimed that the bureau's report – and its classification of Juggalos as a “loosely organised hybrid gang” – was “unwarranted and unlawful”, The Wire reports.

Although Juggalos aren't mentioned in the FBI's latest edition of its paper on thug life, the 2011 report – which is allegedly still utilised by local law enforcement agencies – says that Juggalos have previously committed assaults and vandalism, with a “small number” being responsible for more serious crimes.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

"This is not the end. We'll keep fighting to clear the Juggalo family name," Bruce said in a statement.

"While it is easy to fear what one does not understand, discrimination and bigotry against any group of people is just plain wrong and un-American."

In response to the decision, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Juggalos and Insane Clown Posse, citing a violation of constitutional rights to free speech and due process.

“The only way to remedy this injustice for all innocent Juggalos is to start with the root of the problem – the FBI's arbitrary and erroneous branding of hundreds of thousands of music fans as gang members,” ACLU of Michigan legal director Michael J. Steinberg said in a statement. “There is no doubt that the FBI created this problem and the solution begins there as well. Otherwise, we'll be playing whack-o-mole to stop local law enforcement agencies from discriminating against our clients, when the agencies are just following the FBI's lead.”

Insane Clown Posse and their fan community are due to hold the fifteenth annual Gathering Of The Juggalos festival in a couple of weeks, but the festivities haven't yet seemed to be dampened by the unfortunate court ruling – check out this almost-25-minute-long trailer for this year's event, if, uh, you're not doing anything else.