Fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse are marching on Washington today to protest a federal government policy that labels them a “gang.”
The policy dates back to 2011 when the FBI labeled the group’s fans — better known as Juggalos — an “organized crime syndicate” in the National Gang Threat Assessment after a few unrelated incidents involving Juggalos.
According to the FBI’s assessment of Juggalos,
“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, according to NGIC reporting.
- NGIC reporting indicates that Juggalo gangs are expanding in New Mexico primarily because they are attracted to the tribal and cultural traditions of the Native Americans residing nearby.
Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism. However, open source reporting suggests that a small number of Juggalos are forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity, such as felony assaults, thefts, robberies, and drug sales. Social networking websites are a popular conveyance for Juggalo sub-culture to communicate and expand.”
While the group initially laughed off the assessment, it has become a thorn in their side. Because of the Juggalos’ status as an “organized crime syndicate,” some schools have banned Insane Clown Posse merchandise, while Juggalo gatherings have now become gang meetings.
According to the Daily Wire,
“According to a list of verified testimonials available on the Juggalo March website (and corroborated by the Michigan ACLU), individuals were turned away from the armed forces for having Hatchetman tattoos, kids were suspended from school for sporting ICP merchandise, and at least one woman lost custody of her child because the kid’s father brought up her Juggalo affiliation in court. One Juggalo found himself repeatedly detained by police who ‘translated his answers into gang-related terms’ and then entered him and his answers ‘into a gang information database that is part of or feeds information into the gang information database.'”
Insane Clown Posse filed a lawsuit in 2014 with the Michigan ACLU alleging that the NGTA designation infringed on the Juggalos’ First Amendment rights to free speech and free association.
The Juggalo march on Washington aims to pressure the FBI into reversing the policy.