It’s always a good day when Insane Clown Posse make the news, and today marks the (possible) end of a long and entertaining dispute between the goofy rap duo and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It was discovered a while back that ICP’s followers, better known as Juggalos, had been classified as a ‘gang’ by the FBI.
Now, more than a year later, a court has ruled in favour of ICP, successfully getting themselves removed from the FBI’s list of gang.
It’s a “big victory” for the Detroit duo and their loyal followers.
The case began in 2011, when the Department of Justice first included Juggalos in the “National Gang Threat Assessment.” They were described as a “Loosely organised hybrid gang” by the FBI.
ICP, who first formed in 1991, fought back with a lawsuit in January 2014, against the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. The complaint, filed by ICP and a small group of juggalos, claims that “state and local police routinely stop, detain, interrogate, photograph and document people like plaintiffs, who do not have any connections to gangs, because they have exercised their First Amendment rights to express their identity as Juggalos by displaying Juggalo symbols.” Some were even being denied employment opportunities (but I have to stop at this juncture to point out that correlation is not causation.)
“It’s time for the FBI to come to its senses and recognize that Juggalos are not a gang but a worldwide family united by the love of music,” said ICP member Joseph Bruce in a statement. “There has never been — and will never be — a music fan base quite like Juggalos, and 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.”
ACLU of Michigan legal director, Michael J Steinberg, added that “The Juggalos are fighting for the basic American right to freely express who they are, to gather and share their appreciation of music, and to discuss issues that are important to them without fear of being unfairly targeted and harassed by police… Branding hundreds of thousands of music fans as gang members based on the acts of a few individuals defies logic and violates our most cherished of constitutional rights.”
They officially lost the case in July 2014. Until last week, when it was reinstated. The decision has now been overturned and ICP’s Juggalos will no longer be classified as a gang. In a statement, ICP members Bruce (Violent J) and Joseph Utsler (Shaggy 2 Dope) took to their website and social media to share the news.
They released this statement along with the news: “We’re thankful that the Juggalo family will finally get their day in court. Discrimination against someone based solely upon the type of music they listen to is just flat out wrong and it’s time that the legal system acknowledges that. The FBI’s labeling of Juggalos as a gang has wreaked havoc on thousands of lives, resulting in job losses, dismissal from military service, eviction, lost child custody and constant harrassment and profiling from law enforcement organizations all across the country. We thank our incredible legal team and the ACLU of Michigan for standing up for the rights of Juggalos and we can’t wait to get back in that courtroom and fight to clear our family name. To all Juggalos … thank you for standing strong with us in this battle and MUCH CLOWN LOVE! WHOOP WHOOP!”
More to come when they take the stand in court.