Government seeks dismissal of Juggalos suit

Jun 23, 2014

The government is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims fans of the band Insane Clown Posse have been unfairly labeled a criminal gang.

Juggalos say they've been unfairly targeted by law enforcement as a result of the FBI's "hybrid criminal gang" designation
Credit Cameron Blaylock / Flickr

The FBI in 2011 put out a report that cited crimes committed by the rap duo's fans, known as Juggalos.

"It's a classic civil liberties case, about whether a group of people can express themselves and come together and associate for peaceful purposes, without being harassed by the government,” said ACLU of Michigan Legal Director Michael Steinberg. He says labeling Juggalos as a criminal gang violates their First Amendment and due process rights.

An attorney for the government argued today that those issues should be dealt with in those jurisdictions.

But Michael Steinberg with the ACLU disagrees.

"The FBI has designated the Juggalos a loosely affiliated hybrid gang, and if we want to stop this problem throughout the country we can't just go to Tennessee when one person suffers injury as a result of the designation,” he said. We want to stop it nationwide."

The government also says the band and its fans don't have standing to sue the Department of Justice over the report.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland says he’ll decide whether the case can move forward in the next two to three weeks.