Not Clowning Around

Published October 15, 2012

The Insane Clown Posse has sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation for classifying fans of the hip-hop group, known as Juggalos, as a gang, allegedly without any documentary support.

The FBI labeled the Juggalos a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment: Emerging Trends report. A “loosely-organized hybrid gang” is defined as a “non-traditional gang” with “multiple affiliations, ethnicities, [a] migratory nature and nebulous structure” and a membership that is “transient and continuously evolving.”

Or maybe, says lawyer Kevin Underhill, who has covered the Insane Clown Posse’s legal problems for more than a year on his blog, lowering the bar, the gang as defined “also describes the Junior League, the Democratic Party, and the cast of Saturday Night Live.”

“I have some concerns with that definition to begin with,” he stated, “so that’s really starting to sound like, I don’t know, maybe NOT A GANG AT ALL.”

Underhill notes the FBI concedes the point: “Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism.” Some sources suggest to the FBI a few Juggalos “are forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity, such as felony assaults, thefts, robberies, and drug sales.”

Police in one Oklahoma town initially blamed Juggalos for a hit-and-run accident because the alleged driver was wearing clown makeup, but the local police chief defended them, stating, “We know our Juggalos here. They’ve always been law-abiding.”

Sources: Kevin Underhill, “Legal Action Announced at Gathering of the Juggalos,” lowering the bar, August 14, 2012; Kevin Underhill, “Insane Clown Posse Sues FBI,” September 26, 2012