The FBI vs. the ICP: Revenge of the Juggalos

Nice try, FBI. You thought you could classify the Insane Clown Posse’s face-painting fan base as a criminal gang without (an attempt at) legal repercussions? Well, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J are filing suit, claiming, per the New York Times, that the government made an “unwarranted and unlawful decision” that resulted in “significant harm” through law-enforcement harassment. Along with the pair of Michigan horrorcore rappers, four Juggalos are counted as plaintiffs in the suit. Juggalos are, depending which interpretation you’re partial to, the folks singing along to “Bugz on My Nugz” and “If I Was a Serial Killer,” ICP’s street-level crime squad, or the “fucking lunatics” who “walk through the hills and beat down a rich boy.”

The lawsuit contends that “among the supporters of almost any group — whether it be a band, sports team, university, political organization or religion — there will be some people who violate the law. However, it is wrong to designate the entire group of supporters as a criminal gang based on the acts of a few.” A 2011 report from the FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center called the Juggalos “a loosely organized hybrid gang” that could be found “rapidly expanding into many U.S. communities.” (The report featured the word “Crips” 285 times, “Bloods” 182 times, and “Juggalos” 43 times.) The report acknowledged that the Juggalos’ primary crimes “are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism” — but then went on to express concern about the Juggalos becoming more like an actual gang-gang, participating together in things like “felony assaults, thefts, robberies, and drug sales.”

Insane Clown Posse’s music, according to the lawsuit, includes “hopeful, life-affirming themes about the wonders of life and the support that Juggalos give to one another,” compared to other hip-hop artists’ “nightmarelike stories with an underlying message that horrible things happen to people who choose evil over good.” Grievances in the suit include a canceled concert in Michigan, which local police nixed in direct relation to the FBI’s report, and multiple Juggalo accounts of friction with potential and existing military career opportunities thanks to ICP tattoos. One Las Vegas Juggalo was pulled over and detained in Tennessee because his truck displayed an ICP logo known as the Hatchet Man.

Back in September 2012, ICP sued the FBI for hard information about what led to the gang report listing. (The suit was dismissed.) In a statement at the time, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope wrote, “We are not a gang! We are a family! We come together for our luv of the Insane Clown Posse, Psychopathic Records and our Juggalo pride. Can we take a fuckin’ second to note that Jimmy Buffett’s Parrot Heads, Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters, Justin Bieber’s Beliebers, the Grateful Dead’s Deadheads and many more haven’t been labeled as a gang?”