Yesterday, January 8, 2014, two members of the music group Insane Clown Posse and four of their fans, known as Juggalos, filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for claiming they are part of organized crime. The group claims the FBI and the DOJ have overstepped their bounds. This action is typical of the U.S. Government and President Obama to overreach into the lives of Americans, criminalizing actions where no victims exist.
In 2011 the FBI labeled the group and their fans as members of a gang if they had the"Juggalos" logo tattooed on their skin and fans have reportedly been involved in repeated altercations with police simply for exercising their right of free expression and association. The federal government estimates there are approximately 1 million Juggalos in America. Individual Juggalos have reported suffering improper investigations, detentions and other denials of their personal rights at the hands of government officials.
The group and the four fans are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and accuse the FBI and DOJ for categorizing ICP and their fans as a hybrid criminal gang. "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 lawsuit's intent to get remove Juggalos from the national gang database and to keep them from being harassed by law enforcement without probable cause they committed a crime. Members of ICP and many Juggalos have identified themselves as either outright Libertarians or strongly lean libertarian in the political views. In August, 2013, two members of ICP were guests on the libertarian-leaning Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld.
Much like "Deadheads" of Grateful Dead fame, Juggalos often consider themselves a 'family' of people who love and help one another.
Brandon Bradley, 20, a self-identified Juggalo, has on numerous occasions been stopped and detained by law enforcement officers in California. Each time, the officer has wrongly accused Brandon of being in a gang and has interrogated him about being a Juggalo and his affiliated tattoos and clothing. Another plaintiff, Scott Gandy, was told he would not be accepted in the Army because his ICP tattoo was a gang symbol. "It’s unfair that police are treating fans of ICP like criminals just because of the music we like," said Brandon. "Even though the Juggalo community has had a positive effect on my life, now I feel I have to cover my tattoos in certain areas or risk being harassed by police. It’s wrong to make me hide who I am."
"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 Joseph Bruce (aka Violent J), a member of ICP. "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."
In 2012, attorneys representing ICP and their record label, Psychopathic Records, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the FBI to obtain records the federal government used to justify officially designating Juggalos as a criminal gang. When those documents were finally released, they contained nothing that would warrant labeling all Juggalos as a criminal gang.