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Insane Clown Posse takes F.B.I. to court

Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos and identified by their grease facepaint, have been accused by the F.B.I. of gang activity.
Jen Sadler

Oakland County hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse is taking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to court.

A lawsuit filed in Flint federal district court on Tuesday contends the F.B.I. violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to turn over information that led the agency to classify fans of the group as a gang.

The group’s fans—referred to as Juggalos—were listed in the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” whose crimes were “sporadic, disorganized [and] individualistic.”

According to the report, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, and Utah are the only U.S. states that recognize Juggalos as a gang.

Insane Clown Posse is comprised of Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler. Performing under the names Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope the duo have received criticism in the past for their violent lyrics.

An ABC Nightline report investigated the connection between Insane Clown Posse and violent crime. It cites multiple murders committed by self-professed Juggalos.

Speaking with Nightline's Martin Bashir, the duo defended their project.

"We're sitting here in clown paint, we're entertainers," Violent J said. "Anybody who reads that or hears that and takes that seriously, needs to seek help."

The band has strongly rejected the F.B.I.'s characterization of its fans, releasing a statement on their website claiming, “We are not a gang! We are a family! We come together for our luv of the Insane Clown Posse, Psychopathic Records, and our Juggalo pride.”

The group is being represented in court by Bloomfield Hills law office Hertz Schram PC.

H/T to Gary Ridley of MLive

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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