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.