Artist News Legal

Insane Clown Posse file new lawsuit against FBI and US Department Of Justice

By | Published on Thursday 9 January 2014

Insane Clown Posse

Insane Clown Posse, aka hip hop duo Violent J and Shggy 2 Dope, have announced that they have gained support for their legal action against the FBI from civil rights organisation the American Civil Liberties Union and law firm Miller Canfield.

As previously reported, ‘Juggalos’, as the band’s fans are known, were referenced in the FBI’s ‘National Gang Threat Assessment: Emerging Trends’ report in 2011, which said: “The Juggalos, a loosely-organised hybrid gang, are rapidly expanding into many US communities. Although recognised as a gang in only four states, many Juggalo subsets exhibit gang-like behaviour and engage in criminal activity and violence – law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo subsets”.

The group and their label, Psycopathic Records, originally filed a lawsuit against the FBI in September 2012 through law firm Hertz Schram PC. In it, they claimed that the FBI had violated the US Freedom Of Information Act by not providing any documentary evidence to prove that fans of the hip hop duo should be deemed an organised criminal outfit. Yesterday, they filed a new lawsuit also naming the US Department Of Justice as a defendant, and naming four fans of the group as plaintiffs, alongside the duo and their label.

Speaking at a press conference at ACLU’s headquarters in Michigan yesterday, the duo said that, in partnership with the civil rights organisation, they were now working with prominent law firm Miller Canfield on the case. One of the ICP fans newly listed as a plaintiff also spoke, saying that he was regularly stopped by police for having Juggalo tattoos and wearing related clothing, insisting that he is “a peaceful person”.

Elsewhere in the new suit, another fan says that he was rejected from the US Army because his own Juggalo tattoos were viewed as being “gang-related” by recruiters.

Meanwhile Shaggy 2 Dope, real name Joseph Utsler, said at the conference: “We’re not a gang, we’re a family. We’re 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”.

Confident that the new support for their cause will boost their chances of winning, a statement on the group’s website confirming the news explained to fans: “With the ACLU and Miller Canfield standing with the Juggalos against the FBI, we have some VERY powerful friends on our side! The ACLU and Miller Canfield both think that the discrimination, profiling and harassment that Juggalos have been facing over the last few years in flat out WRONG and un-American, so now they will be helping us fight our case in court”.

It added: “This represents a MAJOR victory for all Juggalos and I guaran-fucking-tee you that if anyone was laughing at the Juggalos v FBI case before, no one is laughing now. THAT’S how much influence the ACLU has and we are SO PROUD and honoured to have them standing up for the Juggalo family”.

With the litigation now more than a year old, it’s not clear if this new development means we are any closer to a court date. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds, nonetheless.