F*cking lawsuits, how do they work?
The make-up sporting superfans of the Insane Clown Posse known as Juggalos announced that they are suing the federal government for exhibiting “discrimination and bigotry” by classifying the whole group as a gang threat.
Four members of the Juggalos and the group’s two rappers, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, have brought the suit with the ACLU, arguing that the FBI violated their civil liberties and infringed on their “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.”
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“There has never been — and will never be — a music fan base quite like Juggalos,” Violent J said in a press conference. “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.”
It started back in 2011, when the FBI released its annual “National Gang Threat Assessment” report, which described the Juggalos as “a loosely-organized hybrid gang” with sub-groups that “exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence.”
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The report itself did not exactly make the Juggalos seem like a vast network of criminal masterminds, with descriptions of how “[s]ocial networking websites are a popular conveyance for Juggalo sub-culture to communicate and expand,” and “Juggalos’ disorganization and lack of structure within their groups, coupled with their transient nature, makes it difficult to classify them and identify their members and migration patterns.”
In 2012, ICP filed a lawsuit against the FBI after the bureau refused its Freedom of Information of Act request, asking for more information related to the Juggalos’ classification as a potential gang threat.
This latest lawsuit claims that as a result of the FBI’s list, Juggalos have been subject to “improper investigations, detentions and other denials of their personal rights at the hands of government officials.”
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“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,” the lawsuit says. “Inevitably, some will do so while sporting the group’s logos or symbols. However, it is wrong to designate the entire group of supporters as a criminal gang based on the acts of a few.”
The suit asks the court to remove the Juggalos from the list and from law enforcement databases, and prevent any further investigation of the group without “sufficient facts” of a “definable criminal activity or enterprise.”
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Photo by Mary Sjaarda