Earlier this year, the Insane Clown Posse and several fans sued the Department of Justice and the FBI in federal court in Michigan for designating Juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang” in the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, which cites a National Gang Intelligence Report about the Juggalos. Both the NGIC report and the FBI report described increasing criminal activity among Juggalos. In its report, the NGIC noted that over the years, two sides of the Juggalo sub-culture had emerged and that there were two very different factions of Juggalos, the music fans and the criminal street gang. IThe FBI report does not distinguish between the two factions.
According to the complaint, people with Juggalo tattoos and clothing were targeted by police and denied jobs as a result of the FBI’s report. The Justice Department maintained that ICP and its fans lacked standing to sue because the government is not responsible for how police agencies use the information in the gang reports. Agreeing with the Justice Department, the court dismissed the lawsuit last month due to the Plaintiffs’ lack of standing. In his opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland held that because “Plaintiffs complain of independent actions by third-parties who are not currently before the court” and “the court is reluctant to endorse standing theories that rest on speculation about the decisions of independent actors.” The Court noted that the alleged discriminatory actions were performed by independent third-parties and not at the direction of the FBI or DOJ. ICP and the Michigan ACLU have vowed to appeal the decision. To be honest, from a standing perspective, this sounds like the correct result.
Unfortunately, the actions of a small portion of a population appear to have stigmatized the entire group. Admittedly, we here at Abnormal Use know little about the oeuvre of Insane Clown Posse or the Juggalo subculture. We do know that they apparently sometimes wear face paint, drink Faygo, and question the power of magnets. And now, all of the non-violent Juggalos have little legal recourse against the feds on this issue.
(See also: Huffington Post).