Back in those halcyon days of 2011, when Insane Clown Posse was riding high off their idiot savant "Miracles" music video and their Detroit Music Award for Distinguished Achievement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation saw fit to add the rap duo's fans to its National Gang Threat Assessment. Being lumped in with the likes of the Bloods, Crips, and Aryan Brotherhood angered self-described Juggalos and ICP sued the FBI.
Last year, a federal judge tossed their suit, saying the gang member designation, alone, was not a violation of Juggalos rights. But Shaggy 2 Dope, Violent J, and their unlikely friends the ACLU appealed, and now the case has been reinstated.
Carnival of Carnage
ICP's lawsuit alleges a host of constitutional violations, most of which center on the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Fans of the band claim that painting their faces to look like clowns and displaying ICP's logo of a hatchet man has led to increased scrutiny from police officers. They further allege that the gang designation has led to discrimination, profiling, and harassment from law enforcement, unconstitutionally restricting their freedom of association.
The lawsuit also points to the enhanced punishments given to gang members, as one fan found out when he was nabbed on an outstanding warrant and listed on the U.S. Marshals Service news release as "a member of the Insane Clown Posse 'Juggalo' gang."
The lawsuit is asking the court to set aside the FBI's gang distinction for Juggalos and enjoin law enforcement from investigating, gathering evidence, prosecuting, and punishing fans of the band based on that distinction.
So far, the Department of Justice is standing by their classification of Juggalos as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang," alleging "[t]ransient, criminal Juggalo groups pose a threat to communities due to the potential for violence, drug use/sales, and their general destructive and violent nature."
With the lawsuit reinstated, it may now come down to a jury to decide. If the next ruling doesn't go ICP's way, it may be time to move to Juggalo Island.