Insane Clown Posse Will Appeal Loss in “Juggalo Gang” Case

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"Flat-out ridiculous and un-American bullshit" is probably the lead quote from Insane Clown Posse's press conference about the June 30 decision dismissing its lawsuit against the FBI for classifying its fans as a "gang" (Washington Post).  Violent J wasn't talking about the decision itself, but rather the discrimination against Juggalos that was the basis for the allegations in the lawsuit.


I'm on record as agreeing with ICP on this, although I think I have generally used slightly different wording. See "Suspect's Juggalo Status Unclear, Say Juggalo Experts" (May 31, 2011); "Legal Action Announced at Gathering of the Juggalos" (Aug. 14, 2012) (referring to earlier FOIA lawsuit); Juggalos Sue FBI Again (Jan. 10, 2014) (the present case).

ICP's lawsuit focused on the FBI's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, which classified "Juggalos" as a "loosely organized non-traditional hybrid gang subset," which is a category that really mocks itself but which I'll mock (for the third time now) as being defined so broadly it would also include the cast of Saturday Night Live. Do some people who consider themselves Juggalos commit crimes? Yes. Do some criminal groups identify themselves as Juggalo-oriented? Apparently. In that sense you might call a particular group a "Juggalo" gang. But it is FORUB (Flat-Out Ridiculous Un-American Bullshit) to leap from that to the 2011 assessment's statement that "the Juggalos" are "a loosely-organized hybrid gang" and, at least as alleged in the complaint, then treat any Juggalo imagery as probable cause to stop or discriminate against someone. 

In the lawsuit, ICP and four lower-ranking Juggalos brought First Amendment and due process claims against DOJ and the FBI, asking that they remove Juggalos from the gang list. (This Michigan ACLU press-release page has the relevant links.) The court did not reach the classification issue, though—it held that none of the plaintiffs have standing to challenge the decision because the harm is allegedly being inflicted by third parties (law enforcement, mostly) who the Juggalos have not named in the lawsuit. That is, the court believes the connection between the FBI listing and the ultimate harm is not close enough.

The Juggalos have said they will appeal.

While they may have lost this round, the report and the decision both note that the 2013 version of the Gang Threat Assessment does not in fact mention "Juggalos" or the notion of "hybrid gangs" at all. (It does mention a gang called the "Peckerwoods," and if that exists I am officially not making fun of its name.) I assume the government's position is that this change had nothing to do with the lawsuit.