Insane Clown Posse Suing The FBI
Posted by Joseph Lee on 01.08.2014
Good luck with that one, guys...
Billboard reports that the Insane Clown Posse is suing the FBI after their fans, the Juggalos, were labeled "a loosely affiliated hybrid gang." The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the US Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joey Utsler) and four Juggalos. They claim their constitutional rights to free expression, association and due process were violated because after the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigations labeled them as a gang in the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. They claim the label is wrong, without merit and should be removed.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is representing the fans while Detroit law firm Hertz Schram P.C. is representing ICP.
Violent J said: "When the (gang) label first come out, I laughed at it. I had no idea how much it would effect us. Now it's like a growing disease. It's affecting everything ICP does. We're going to fight this to the death, 'cause it's not true. It's stupid. It's ridiculous."
They said that merchandise sales have dropped since 2011, along with concert attendance as well as attendance of the Gathering of the Juggalos summer festival. The event lost over $700,000 this year and is moving from Cave-In Rock, Illinois (its home since 2007) to a "smaller" venue in 2014. Retail chains have also stopped carrying their music and merchandise.
Shaggy 2 Dope added: "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...and it's time the FBI recognizes that. We will prevail in this fight to clear the Juggalo family name, because not to would be bullshit."
Branon Bradley from California, one of the Juggalos who are suing, said he has been harrased by police on multiple occasions because of his Juggalo clothing and tattoos. He said: "I never imagined being in a situation where I could be listed as a violent gang member just because of my T-shirt. The idea that my photo is in a police database marking me as a gang member is scary."
Hertz Schram filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in September of 2011. Attorney Howard Hertz said they received 102 pages of documents from the FBI, "mainly newspaper articles" about the band and the Juggalos. Another FOIA filed by Muck Rock found "inconsistent and conflicting documents from the FBI...emphasizing to me a lack of transparency with respect to this issue." Saura J. Sahu, the ACLU's cooperating attorney from the firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, added that "this (gang) designation is having real impact on real Juggalo music fans across the country. Another plaintiff, Scott Gandy, was told he couldn't enlist in the US Army because of his Juggalo tattoo. Sahu said he's confident his clinets will win the suit.
He said: "The basic point...is really clear, to overturn this excessive and overbroad gang designation. We want the Justice Department to sop the harassment of these folks who have been suffering for over two years now....people who had nothing to do with any criminal gang and are simply exercising their First Amendment right to identify themselves as Juggalos. We're hoping we will win back their right to be left alone."