Why Is Insane Clown Posse Suing the FBI?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 9 2014 2:49 PM

Insane Clown Posse, ACLU Sue FBI for Gang Designation

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Insane Clown Posse attends the 2003 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 10, 2003 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Tired of reading about Chris Christie? Here’s something different: Insane Clown Posse has joined four fans in filing a lawsuit against the FBI. The rap duo, along with the ACLU of Michigan, claim it is unfair for ICP fans, also known as Juggalos, to be identified as a gang.

“We’re not a gang, we’re a family. We’re a diverse group of men and women, united by our love of music and nothing more. We’re not a threat, a public menace or a danger to society,” said Joseph Utsler, who performs as Shaggy 2 Dope, during a press conference yesterday.

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The suit is only the latest in an ongoing battle between the group and the bureau. Back in 2011, the FBI’s division on gangs issued a report which described fans of ICP as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.” Here’s the New York Times with the details:

The report, titled “National Gang Threat Assessment: Emerging Trends,” cited a 2011 incident in which “two suspected Juggalo associates were charged with beating and robbing an elderly homeless man,” and another in 2010 in which “a suspected Juggalo member” shot and wounded two other people.
The report also included a photograph of a woman described as a “Juggalo member,” wearing face paint similar to the kind used by Insane Clown Posse and pointing a gun at the camera.

Insane Clown Posse responded in 2012 with a lawsuit and its label launched the site juggalosfightback.com to solicit stories from ICP fans of discrimination based on their music tastes.

In the end, ICP may be more worried about their bottom line than civil rights. “[The FBI] scared people away from attending concerts and from affiliating together for the purpose of listening to music," Saura Sahu, an attorney assisting the case, told Rolling Stone. The group also reports declining attendance at its annual “Gathering of the Juggalos” event and concert cancellations due to increased scrutiny and police pressure.