Bloods.  Crips.  Latin Kings.  Juggalos.  Which one may or may not be like the others?  Insane Clown Posse is a Detroit-based rap-group composed of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope.  Both performers also paint their entire faces in distinctive styles when when they perform, contributing to their monicker.  But ICP may be overshadowed by their intense fans, a group referred to as Juggalos.

Each year the Juggalos host the “Gathering of the Juggalos,” where ICP announced it would be filing suit against the FBI.  Why?  Because according to the FBI’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, the Juggalos are a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” that is “rapidly expanding into many US communities.”  The FBI claims the Juaggalos are “sporadic, disorganized, individualistic,” whose crimes often consist of simple assault, drug possession, theft, and vandalism.

However, Insane Clown Posse does not see their fans this way.  In the eyes of Violent J, the FBI is trying to  kill [their] band and they have the right to fight back.  While this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos should have been no different, in the eyes of the FBI it was actually the gathering of a gang, where gang merchandise and paraphernalia was being sold.

Because of its inclusion on that list, national brands such as Hot Topic no longer carry ICP merchandise, and Juggalos even report being accosted by law enforcement officials.  ICP, and its label Psychopathic Records, has started gathering stories and accounts from fans of negative treatment they have received from law enforcement as a result of being a Juggalo.  Even though ICP and its label may view their fans as harmless, the FBI attributes the January 2011 shooting of a couple to a suspected Juggalo.  It also believes a Juggalo was responsible for the beating and robbing of an elderly homeless man.

Even though these crimes, as well as any the FBI chose not to cite in its report, may be a result of Juggalo activity, the entire movement is probably not a gang under its traditional definition.  Winning this suit in court is going to probably require demonstrating that law enforcement has in fact harassed Juggalos and that the FBI gang listing is incorrect.  The problem with proving that may be the FBI’s language in its report, defining the group in a very broad fashion, allowing for different elements to exist without labeling the entire organization a gang.


–Jeremy Gove

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