Insane Clown Posse 'Juggalos' Can Be Labeled As Gang After 2011 Drug Charges

By McCarton Ackerman 07/10/14

The band and ACLU are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuit against the Department of Justice.

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Rap group Insane Clown Posse and the American Civil Liberties Union are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuit against the Justice Department, which ruled that the group’s fanbase, known as “Juggalos,” could be classified as a gang due to drug charges against some members.

The FBI division in Salt Lake City opened up a 14-month investigation after two Juggalos were arrested on drug charges at a March 2011 concert. The FBI even included the ICP fans in their report on national gang activity that year, referring to them as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” causing terror. "Insane Clown Posse can’t get its music on the radio, but claims to have 1 million devoted fans who call themselves ‘Juggalos’ or ‘Juggalettes,'" explained the agent.

Both the ICP and Juggalos say police have unfairly targeted them since the report, but their complaints fell on deaf ears with U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland. He ruled last week that the report “does not recommend any particular course of action for local law enforcement to follow, and instead operates as a descriptive, rather than a prescriptive, assessment of nationwide gang trends.”

The band also unsuccessfully sued the FBI last September to get them to reveal the basis for investigating their fans, but the Salt Lake City division of the FBI recommended that the suit be thrown out due to lack of evidence. After the latest unsuccessful lawsuit, ICP member Violent J has since vowed to “keep fighting to clear the Juggalo family name.”

The ruling was surprising to many since Muck Rock, a Massachusetts company that built a web tool to help journalists, activists, and lawyers file Freedom of Information Act requests, has confirmed that the FBI's concerns were unfounded.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.