Insane Clown Posse Sues FBI For Calling The Juggalos A Gang

from the with-an-assist-from-the-aclu dept

The ACLU has taken up the case of the Juggalos. As you may have heard, back in 2011, the FBI bizarrely classified the fans of the music group, The Insane Clown Posse, who refer to themselves as the Juggalos, as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang... rapidly expanding into many US communities." This was in the FBI's National Gang Threat Assessment report. In response, a group of Juggalos and the group itself have now filed a lawsuit.
"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," said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan legal director. "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."
The full complaint, embedded below, is worth reading. The ACLU was able to find Juggalos who actually ran into issues because of the designation. For example, one plaintiff, a Juggalo named Mark Parsons, runs a small trucking business called Juggalo Express, and whose truck has the ICP logo on it. According to the lawsuit, he was pulled over by the police:
The State Trooper indicated that he detained Parsons for an inspection because of the hatchetman logo on the truck.

The State Trooper indicated that he considered Juggalos to be a criminal gang because of the DOJ’s designation.

The State Trooper asked Parsons if he had any axes, hatchets, or other similar chopping instruments in the truck. Parsons truthfully answered that he did not.

The State Trooper continued to search the truck and interrogate Parsons for about an hour, delaying Parsons’ time-sensitive hauling work. During the search, the State Trooper did not find any weapons or contraband. The State Trooper did not issue a ticket or other citation to Parsons.
Other plaintiffs have a bunch of examples of being stopped or detained by the police for their association with the Juggalos, and law enforcement asserting directly to them that they're part of a gang. One plaintiff was told he couldn't join the Army because he was a Juggalo.

The claims include a First Amendment claim, arguing that this goes against the right to associate for expression, as well a straight up free expression violation as well. For what it's worth, the group itself appeared at the press conference announcing this in full ICP makeup.
This whole thing seems to fit squarely into the classification of crazy moral panics by the FBI against music fans.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 2:34pm

    I'm not sure WHAT to think about this...

    ICP is still together? What the hell?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    The dude, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 2:56pm

    A part of them at least seem to form gangs.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juggalos_%28gang%29.
    So the stopping, although wrong, wasn't totally unjustified (never saw a gang running a transport business though).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Christopher Best (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 2:58pm

    Re:

    How can something be 'wrong' and 'justified'?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    I've seen gangs running transport businesses, although the law calls it "smuggling".

    Classifying all Juggalos as gang member is totally unjustified. That there exists at least one actual gang that identifies themselves as Juggalos doesn't change that.

    It'd be like if there was a street gang that self-identified as Metallica fans. Would that justify declaring all Metallica fans to be gang members?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:02pm

    Water, fire, air and dirt
    F**ing 1st Amendment, how does that work!??!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    The dude, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re:

    I mean that it may have made sense to the policeman, he knew that a gang used that logo, so he may have though that the driver had a relationship with that group.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Christopher Best (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re:

    The Teamsters supposedly run transport businesses, there's an example.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Re: I'm not sure WHAT to think about this...

    They're all deeply Christian, too!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    The dude, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Of course not; i am only saying, the cop saw a gang logo and investigated, he may not be aware that it stands for something else than a gang.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Max Riethmuller, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:16pm

    Re:

    Some police are corrupt - we should have Internal Affairs randomly pull over cops doing their job?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    The dude, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:20pm

    So THAT'S why the weather's been so frigid - hell has frozen over, I'm actually on the Juggalos' side on something.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, I see our disconnect. I agree, I don't think that the cop behaved incorrectly. The FBI is at fault here, for telling the cops that Juggalos == gang members.

    This is the case that ICP is making, too. They only brought up the cop stop because that's an indication of the harm the FBI is doing, not because the cop did anything wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I suspect that Mr. Best was attempting to make a joke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:27pm

    Maybe it's a trademark issue. The FBI is the REAL Insane Clown Posse!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:27pm

    Very happy they are fighting this

    While I think this particular group is a bunch of oddballs, the ability for the government to claim a group is nothing but terrorist, then apply the NDAA to those people is just too risky to stand by and watch happen.

    Sometimes it's the weird cases that help to save others down the road.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:28pm

    Re:

    Don't feel bad. Creepy people, unpleasant people, and even straight up criminal douchebags can occasionally be right, and when they are the right thing to do is stand by their side. Still doesn't mean you have to like them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:36pm

    They're not a gang, they're a "Posse".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:38pm

    Re:

    So if the local Latin Kings start holding meetings at Pitbull concerts is it 'justified' (but 'wrong') to stop every fan? Or would Pitbull have to 'name' his fans "Latin Kings" first?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    The dude, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re:

    Killing a person is always wrong, doing it to protect your own hide or protecting others can justify doing it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re:

    YES.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Mike, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:50pm

    LOL!!!

    Both sides are crazies. No use for either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re:

    "Wrong" is a moral term, "justified" is a legal one (although "justified" can be moral as well).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Unless they're in Jersey.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

    ICP on techdirt ? They had a nice home in our neighborhood, never had any problems with them. Sounds like defamation to me. Seems the government is also in the business of libel and slander. Some things never change I guess.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 4:25pm

    They are a gang in my town! I know the band has nothing to do with them but they still call themselves "juggalos" and they are a pretty dangerous group of idiots!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 4:30pm

    This lawsuit is stupid! ICP glorifies and preaches violence and IMO they are responsible (in part) for each little thug that goes around hurting people in their name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 4:36pm

    The government is a gang that strips us of our rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    The dude, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I wonder how it ends though

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 4:56pm

    Re:

    Do you also think Hollywood should be held responsible for all of the violence that they depict?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 5:16pm

    Better be careful because this could be expanded. Movie fans could be next:

    "Jedi Knights"
    "Stormtrooper Squads"
    "Trekkies"

    How about other fans of music groups such as:

    Bruce Springsteen fans
    Def Leppard fans
    Metallica fans

    And the list goes on and on. The RIAA and the MPAA need to step up and file a lawsuit against the FBI because the government is turning the movie and music industry into nothing more than a criminal enterprise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 5:30pm

    I guess that means we're all members of the Techdirt gang.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 7:12pm

    Re:

    Pretty sure Congress holds the trademark on that one...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 7:38pm

    Re:

    I'm an atheist so I'll just say Jesus Christ it's cold as hell out.

    lol sorry

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 8:00pm

    Re:

    The RIAA and the MPAA need to step up and file a lawsuit against the FBI because the government is turning the movie and music industry into nothing more than a criminal enterprise.

    I really don't think, what with their 'inventive accounting tricks', that the *AA's need any help there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    dfed (profile), Jan 8th, 2014 @ 10:24pm

    I'm just hoping in discovery for the trial someone explains to everyone involved how magnets fucking work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 11:28pm

    I'm having a hard time with this one. I know I should care about this. I'm very much against unjustified police stops and illegal searches. I just can't bring myself to sympathize with the plight of the Juggalos. I want to. I just can't do it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 12:13am

    Re:

    In that case you might want to read and think on the following:

    First they came for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist.

    Then they came for the Socialists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.


    -Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

    Even if you don't like a group, even if you actively hate them, fighting against injustices perpetrated against them is still the right thing to do, and helps everyone, quite possibly including you as well sometime down the road.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 1:44am

    In the age where looking scary or different is enough to get you in the "watch list" this is no surprise at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 1:56am

    Re:

    So if a gang of actual criminals started using the official seal of Congress as a gang emblem, would state troopers and the DOJ start harassing members of Congress?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 1:59am

    Re: Re:

    Hey, everyone's entitled to their own faith, including negative faith.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 2:47am

    Re: Re:

    Uh, don't you mean 'another gang of criminals started using the official seal of Congress'?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They can be either. In the Rosa Parks case, her actions were legally 'wrong', but morally 'justified'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    Re:

    You take a male magnet and a female magnet... (or optionally another male magnet...)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    kitsune361, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 6:51am

    Re: I'm not sure WHAT to think about this...

    They never really went away, they just dropped out of the mainstream music biz (like they were ever really there to begin with). They've also done what a lot of other artists have done, started a label and produced others who share their style. They even signed Vanilla Ice for his "comeback" a few years back.

    This is not to mention all the side projects, B-Movies and pro-wrestling.

    I'm surprised this is the first we're read about ICP on Techdirt as their story fits very well with some of the themes on here of getting screwed by the man, building a fanbase anyway, and seeing success, even if it isn't "mainstream".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 7:04am

    Look they may not be set up as a gang, but the "Juggalos" from around here act -just- like one. So perhaps they should send an internal memo to stop acting like thuggish retards.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Joshua Mauk, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 8:02am

    But That is the Point

    The Constitution protects the rights of individuals to act like thuggish retards.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Reality Check (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re:

    And all cops should have a camera and audio recording running at all times.

    If the cop is accused of brutality, theft, rape or any other breach of public trust at any time that the device is 'malfunctioning', then the cop should be automatically permanently dismissed, regardless of the outcome of the accusation.

    And YES. Internal Affairs should randomly monitor ALL cops. Ideally Internal Affairs from a different jurisdiction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 9th, 2014 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    You don't have to sympathize with the Juggalos. Sympathize with the concept of justice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    mr. bald, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 9:13am

    Re:

    Joni Mitchell gangs are seriously evil. And don't you ever cross the Beleibers!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 9:27am

    "loosely-organized hybrid gang... rapidly expanding into many US communities."

    Its nice to know that the FBI considers trailer parks to be communities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 1:21pm

    Re: I'm not sure WHAT to think about this...

    Magnets! How do they work?!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: I'm not sure WHAT to think about this...

    Very well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 3:22pm

    Re:

    Nah, trailer parks are Skynyrd territory.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re:

    You can't drop the J-bomb in America. The ACLU will stick its nose in where it doesn't belong and sue you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Pseudonym, Jan 12th, 2014 @ 5:24pm

    Re:

    I get what you're saying, but here's the thing. A tiny minority of ICP fans formed a gang, using a name commonly used to refer to all ICP fans. Now all ICP fans are subject to intrusions into their lives because of a few.

    Having said that, I think that ICP needs to take some responsibility in both directions. It's great that they're coming to the defence of the majority of their fans who are not involved in criminal gangs. They also need to make it clear to the tiny minority that this is not cool. Moreover, it wouldn't be nearly as expensive as a lawsuit; a statement or a song would be sufficient.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Pseudonym, Jan 12th, 2014 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Precisely this. Whatever you think about Juggalos, their rights are also your rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Pseudonym, Jan 12th, 2014 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re:

    I know! I saw them out this week, protesting the construction of a parking lot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Paul, Jan 13th, 2014 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm going to disagree with you on this. Killing a person is not always wrong. The examples you cite are the times it is not only justified, but often morally correct in my opinion.

    In the case of the cop stop, the officer was, in fact, right to take what he knew to be a "gang symbol" into account when making a stop. However, it was wrong of those he felt were informed authorities to make that assertion to start with. The officer in this case (insofar as I can judge with the limited information available) was in the right, the FBI was (and still is) in the wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 5:22am

    They saw that pic and they figure it is Kim Dot Com under that make-up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    mattchu, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:08pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 8th, 2014 @ 3:36pm

    put that on a t shirt, I bet you make a tidy little profit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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