It looks like The Insane Clown Posse and street gangs aren’t that different after all, at least not in the eyes of the FBI.
Today, ICP filed suit against the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, claiming that the U.S. made the “unwarranted and unlawful decision” to classify ICP fans, a.k.a. Juggalos, as gang members, causing them to be harassed by law officials and resulting in “significant harm.” The lawsuit was filed in Michigan, where the band is from, by their lawyers as well as Michigan’s American Civil Liberties Union. Plaintiffs include founding members of ICP Joseph Bruce (Violent J), Joseph Utsler (Shaggy 2 Dope) and four fans who claim that they’ve undergone police harassment and other punishment for identifying with the band.
“Among the supporters of almost any group — whether it be a band, sports team, university, political organization or religion — there will be some people who violate the law,” the lawsuit said. “However, it is wrong to designate the entire group of supporters as a criminal gang based on the acts of a few. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened here.”
This all started back in 2011, when the F.B.I.’s National Gang Intelligence Center released a report describing Juggalos as “a loosely organized hybrid gang” whose members were “expanding into many U.S. communities.” The report, titled “National Gang Threat Assessment: Emerging Trends,” cited an incident in 2011 when “two suspected Juggalo associates were charged with beating and robbing an elderly homeless man,” and another incident in 2010 when a suspected Juggalo member shot and wounded two people.
Michigan police cancelled an ICP show back in 2012, claiming that the Juggalos constituted a gang. — Max Weinstein