Hip-hop horror rap duo Insane Clown Posse is suing the Department of Justice and the FBI to get the name by which fans define themselves — “Juggalos” — removed from the agency list of known gangs, according to a suit filed Wednesday.
The FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center calls Juggalos a “loosely organized hybrid gang” and identifies them based on their clown-style makeup and distinctive tattoos, Rolling Stone reports. Lawyers for the Insane Clown Posse and the ACLU say that this profiling is “unconstitutionally vague” and prevents Juggalos from expressing themselves and exposes them to unwanted searches. “Organized crime is by no means part of the Juggalo culture,” the lawsuit reads.
“We don’t fit in anywhere,” Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J told Rolling Stone. “And when people don’t understand you, people fear you. All we’re trying to do is be like the Stephen King of music. We like to tell horror stories.”
A gang is defined as at least five people engaging in violent or drug-related crimes, but the while the Department of Justice warned last year that Juggalos were “rapidly expanding,” they acknowledged that they “are not motivated to migrate based upon traditional needs of a gang.” The bands’ supporters identify as “Juggalos” and “Juggalettes,” and many attend the annual “Gathering of the Juggalos” music festival in Cave-in-Rock, Ill. Juggalos with the band’s distinctive Hatchetman tattoos have been searched and detained, and have encountered problems in the Army because of their affiliations.
“We don’t know if we can beat the FBI,” Violent J says. “But we’re damn sure not gonna sit there and accept it.”