The FBI, the ICP and the FOIA

Rap duo seeking to clear its name sues over Freedom of Information request

Written by Inkoo Kang
Edited by JPat Brown

The hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse sued the FBI this week ago after the agency failed to fulfill a 2011 FOIA request for documents justifying the Bureau’s designation of the Detroit-based musical group’s fans as a gang.

In its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, the Bureau identified “Juggalos,” or fans of the Insane Clown Posse, as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang.” It was possibly the first time that devotees of a musical group were put on the same watch list as Mexican drug cartels and human traffickers.

The report cited two assaults that occurred a year apart in two different states as examples of organized violent activity. It also warned, “most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism” – a statement that should strike greater fear in ICP fans than in law enforcement officers.

Insane Clown Posse member Joseph Bruce, who performs as Violent J, explained in an interview the possible real-life consequences that his fans can suffer as a result of the gang classification. He said, “Consider a Juggalo that, 15 years ago, got a hatchet man tattoo or something. Now they’ve got a family, they’re working in real estate or something, and they’re driving home and get a speeding ticket. Next thing you know, he’s in the gang file, and that will be taken into consideration in any trial. Suddenly, it ain’t just somebody who [expletive] up, it’s a gang member that [expletive] up, and they’re getting a heavier sentence.”

The gang designation has also hurt ICP’s business. Violent J said, “Stores like Hot Topic stopped carrying our [expletive] because they don’t want to be selling gang apparel.”

Read the FBI file is embedded below or on the request page.


Image via Alfa-Img