Fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse have somehow managed to get added to FBI’s official list of “top threat gangs.”
The federal definition of a criminal street gang is a group comprised of at least five people partaking in violence or drug-related crime. The Department of Justice’s National Gang Threat Assessment says this “transient” gang is active in 21 states.
Insane Clown Posse (ICP) has been in a legal battle, fighting for its fans. The group attempted to have its fanbase, known as the Juggalos, removed from the FBI’s official “top threat gangs.” The Juggalos have been on the Nation Gang Threat Assessment list since 2011.
The FBI classifies the Juggalos as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” participating in “sporadic, disorganized, individualistic” and mischief involving “simple assault, personal drug use, and possession, petty theft, and vandalism.”
The Sixth Circuit Court ruled that the FBI’s list isn’t a “final agency” and is only compiled as a disclaimer or recommendation and is not an official government document that is considered legally binding. Consequently, the Juggalos are still on the DOJ’s list.
ICP’s frontmen, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, continue to fight for the Juggalo fanbase. The group filed a lawsuit against the FBI and the Department of Justice in 2014. In the lawsuit, the bandmates stressed that “organized crime is by no means part of the Juggalo culture.” ICP said the claims by the FBI had caused its fan base an unnecessary amount of animosity, stating many fear going to shows in the face of ridicule.
The rap duo also shared stories of fans who have been denied promotions at work for sporting ICP’s famous Hatchetman tattoo. At the hearing, a plaintiff, who was a truck driver in Tennessee, talked about a time in 2013 when he was pulled over, searched and detained for his Hatchetman ink. Other plaintiffs said they received unwanted strife and the discrimination has denied them career advancement opportunities, one army corporal said he even faced “involuntary discharge.”
“At first I thought, wow, that’s a compliment that our fans are that heard-of and that renowned,” Violent J said. “Then when I realized what’s happening to the fans because of it, then everything turned around.”
In September 2017, Insane Clown Posse members led a Juggalo March on Washington to renounce the FBI’s classification of the fanbase. Violent J said “What would anybody do? How would anybody fight the gang label? Obviously, the FBI don’t give a fuck. They’re not gonna cave in as they see it. All we can do is hopefully reach the people of the country. How are we gonna legally, peacefully, reach these people? The way it’s always been, is you do a March on Washington that makes as much noise as you can.”
Shaggy 2 Dope piggybacked off of Violent J’s statement. He explained once a person is discovered to be a Juggalo they start facing “longer terms in jail, losing their kids in custody battles, getting fired from jobs, not being able to get into the military and on and on.”
“You wanna call us something, call us a family because a lot of us don’t have a family and all we’ve got is each other,” said Violent J. “This shit real for us, man.”