On Wednesday, lawyers for horrorcore hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse filed suit in federal court against the United States Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for classifying their fans (known as “Juggalos”) a “loosely-organized hybrid gang,” the New York Times reports.
Also named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are four ICP fans who claim they have been the victims of police harassment and other penalties for identifying themselves as Juggalos. Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union are representing the four fans in the suit, which was filed in the Federal District Court in Detroit, MI.
The complaint stems from a 2011 report issued by the National Gang Intelligence Center. An entire section of the document is devoted to the Juggalos, calling them a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” that is “rapidly expanding,” adding that four states recognize them as a gang. “Law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo sub-sets,” the report states, also asserting that Juggalo members have been known to form more organized groups engaging in felony criminal activity.
The lawsuit claims that fans of the rap duo have had their rights of free expression and due process violated over the fact that they are classified by the U.S. government as members of a criminal gang. “Among the supporters of almost any group…there will be some people who violate the law,” the suit says. “However, it is wrong to designate the entire group of supporters as a criminal gang based on the acts of a few.”
In a press conference Wednesday, Insane Clown Posse founders Joseph Bruce and Joey Utlser (who go by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, respectively) also noted that concert attendance and merchandise sales have dropped considerably since the FBI gave Juggalos the gang designation.
Shaggy 2 Dope said during the press conference, “We’re not a gang, we’re a family — a diverse group of men and women united by our love of music, and nothing more. We’re not a threat, a public menace or a danger to society.”