Why Is Insane Clown Posse Suing the FBI?

And what’s an insane clown posse?

These guys are suing the FBI.
National Journal
Brian Resnick
Jan. 8, 2014, 8:16 a.m.

This is In­sane Clown Posse.

They are a rap group from Michigan and the de facto icons of the Jug­galo sub­cul­ture.

A Jug­galo is a per­son char­ac­ter­ized by stark black-and-white clown-face makeup who listens to In­sane Clown Posse’s mu­sic. You could de­scribe the band’s mu­sic as ag­gress­ive, hard-core rap. Or maybe not: This writer has near-zero fa­mili­ar­ity with their mu­sic.

A fe­male Jug­galo is a Jug­galette, per Wiki­pe­dia.

Some Jug­galos have, in re­cent times, been linked to gang vi­ol­ence — or at least that’s how the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment sees it. However, as Wired re­lays, the en­tirety of the “gang vi­ol­ence” cat­egor­iz­a­tion may rest on just two ar­rests in Salt Lake City in 2011, which promp­ted an in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to pos­sible gang activ­ity.

Then, in 2011, the FBI cat­egor­ized Jug­galos as a “non-tra­di­tion­al gang” in their Na­tion­al Gang Threat Asse­ment. In it, the FBI writes:

The Jug­galos, a loosely-or­gan­ized hy­brid gang, are rap­idly ex­pand­ing in­to many US com­munit­ies. Al­though re­cog­nized as a gang in only four states, many Jug­galos sub­sets ex­hib­it gang-like be­ha­vi­or and en­gage in crim­in­al activ­ity and vi­ol­ence. Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials in at least 21 states have iden­ti­fied crim­in­al Jug­galo sub-sets….

Most crimes com­mit­ted by Jug­galos are sporad­ic, dis­or­gan­ized, in­di­vidu­al­ist­ic, and of­ten in­volve simple as­sault, per­son­al drug use and pos­ses­sion, petty theft, and van­dal­ism.

The FBI ad­mits that the group is “dif­fi­cult to clas­si­fy … and identi­fy their mem­bers and mi­gra­tion pat­terns,” kind of like this rare spe­cies of Amazon bird. Hy­brid gangs, they write, have a “neb­u­lous struc­ture.” Kind of like clouds, whose con­tours and men­ace tend to dis­ap­pear upon closer in­spec­tion. It seems en­tirely pos­sible that the FBI is con­flat­ing gang crimes with a few sporad­ic in­stances of hoo­ligan­ism, based on the ste­reo­type of a per­son who might look apt to com­mit a crime.

Peace­ful Jug­galos were of­fen­ded by the de­scrip­tion of their sub­cul­ture in this man­ner, and ar­gued that the ac­tions of a view shouldn’t im­plic­ate the repu­ta­tion of the whole. That’s why In­sane Clown Posse, along with sev­er­al oth­er Jug­galos who have faced dis­crim­in­a­tion (one was told to re­move his Jug­galo tat­too be­fore join­ing the mil­it­ary) filed suit Wed­nes­day morn­ing in a De­troit fed­er­al court with help from the ACLU. They want “Jug­galos” purged from the FBI gang primer. This fol­lows a suit the group filed in 2012 over a FOIA re­quest to ob­tain in­form­a­tion about the fed­er­al in­vest­ig­a­tion.

As they an­nounced to their fans when they filed the FOIA suit last year:

Listen up, Hom­ies! This is the biggest thing to rock the Jug­galo and Jug­galette uni­verse and we’ve got all the de­tails for you right here! In case you haven’t heard, then get ready! The In­sane Clown Posse and Psy­cho­path­ic Re­cords have kept their word and filed a law­suit against the FBI on be­half of the Jug­galo Fam­ily TODAY! …

Really, this is the first time in the his­tory of rock-n-roll that any mu­sic fans have been labeled as a “gang” and that’s prob­ably be­cause it makes no damn sense!

In­sane Clown Posse mem­ber Vi­ol­ent J says that the group’s im­age is un­fairly dis­tor­ted by the FBI, telling Rolling Stone, “All we’re try­ing to do is be like the Steph­en King of mu­sic. We like to tell hor­ror stor­ies.”

Up­date: This short doc­u­ment­ary on Jug­galos ex­plain­ing their cul­ture is worth watch­ing (H/T Alex Seitz-Wald)

Amer­ic­an Jug­galo from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

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