FBI: Insane Clown Posse Has No Standing to Sue Over Juggalo Gang Classification

In January, Detroit horrorcore rappers Insane Clown Posse (ICP) filed a civil lawsuit over the FBI's classification of their fans as a "hybrid gang." Now FBI lawyers are trying to get the suit dismissed because, according to Justice Department attorney Amy Powell, "there is no general right of protection to a social association." 

The suit, filed with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, alleges that local law enforcement has been using the FBI’s 2011 "National Gang Threat Assessment" to profile and detain the fans of ICP, commonly known as Juggalos.

From the Associated Press:

Some fans, called Juggalos, claim to have lost custody of children, lost jobs and been denied housing simply because they enjoy the music of the duo from the Detroit area. Another fan was told he couldn't apply to the Army without removing or covering Insane Clown Posse tattoos, usually a man running with a hatchet.

Justice Department attorney Amy Powell said the group and its fans have no standing to sue. She said the government is not responsible for how police agencies use information in the 2011 national gang report.

But when the government classifies Juggalos as a gang, they are really criminalizing the poor and disenfranchised. Reason TV traveled to Cave-In-Rock, Ill., to meet these music fans in person in Juggalos vs. the FBI: Why Insane Clown Posse Fans are Not a Gang

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  • sarcasmic||

    Their taste in music certainly is criminal.

  • WTF||

    When they came for the juggalos, I didn't say anything because I'm not a juggalo...

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    You're just a Juggalo, and everywhere you go...?

  • WTF||

    ...People know the part I'm playin'

  • WTF||

    So, I guess the constitution is nullified for you if the government labels you as part of a 'gang'. I guess I missed the small print.

  • AlmightyJB||

    There is a FYTW in there somewhere.

  • Slammer||

  • Rich||

    LOL

    Well done.

  • WTF||

    Paula Deen and Rob Ford make great Juggalos.

  • ||

    "Disgraced Toronto mayor Rob Ford..."

    Wait, what? He's disgraced?

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    In some stuffy people's eyes. I rather enjoy his .... um, actions while in office.

  • Malvolio||

  • Rich||

    The FBI report labeled the Juggalos as a "loosely organized hybrid gang." It said those who identify as Juggalos have committed assaults and vandalism, and a "small number" of them have engaged in more serious crimes.

    Oh, FFS!

    What about those who identify as Members of Congress?

  • WTF||

    Well, they are a well organized gang.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    "There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress."

  • R C Dean||

    The FBI report labeled the Juggalos [insert police department here] as a "loosely organized hybrid gang." It said those who identify as Juggalos cops have committed assaults and vandalism, and a "small number" of them have engaged in more serious crimes.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Now FBI lawyers are trying to get the suit dismissed because, according to Justice Department attorney Amy Powell, "there is no general right of protection to a social association."

    I think that whole "Freedom of Association" myth has been debunked.

  • db||

    according to Justice Department attorney Amy Powell, "there is no general right of protection to a social association."

    vs


    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
  • db||

    Strangely, when you read 1A a certain way, separating the clauses identified by semicolons, you get to:
    Congress shall make no law respecting ...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    See, everyone, THIS is why punctuation and context are important. Be cool! Stay in school!

  • Robert||

    The problem is the paucity of delimiters in regular writing. Fortunately natural language also has a lot of redundancy from context.

  • dantheserene||

    FBI:"We only label them a gang. What other people do with that is not our problem."

  • db||

    "Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department" says Wernher von Braun.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    There has to be a slander, libel, or defamation of character lawsuit in there, somewhere. And somebody has to have standing to sue about it! How could that NOT be so???

  • Rich||

    "there is no general right of protection to a social association."

    With all due respect, Amy, what does that even mean?

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think you know what it means.

  • db||

    I wonder if Amy ever had to take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

  • R C Dean||

    I wonder if she even speaks the English language. Because that clause really doesn't make sense.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    She doesn't know what it means either, or she would quit her job and head for the hills. It means that the Feds have no respect foR anyone's civil rights, and will use the flimsiest of excuses to ignore them. And, historically speaking, when that sh*t hits the bottom of the hill, low level functionaries like her are among the first to get ground up in the works.

  • chmercier||

    If we use the GOV!'s own criteria, which is preponderance of evidence, then I think we have to start believing they're malicious rather than ignorant. This notion that people don't have rights is far too ubiquitous to be just base ignorance.

  • Charles Easterly||

    "Justice Department attorney Amy Powell said "the government is not responsible...."

    She is correct. The government is irresponsible.
    Unfortunately it is unaccountable too.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    I went to the AP story and found these two lines at the bottom:

    "Comments for this thread are now closed."
    and
    "Be the first to comment."

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Welcome to the online equivalent of "Free Speech Zones."

  • ||

    Justice Department attorney Amy Powell, "there is no general right of protection to a social association."

    This tells me that Amy Powell is a Socialist Nazi of the highest order.

  • chmercier||

    Is this a surprise at all, really? That one of our betters defends criminalizing taste in music, free association, and self defense?

  • MJBinAL||

    The FBI long ago crossed the line of constitutionality. The entire Justice Department needs to be abolished, all the employees dismissed. and a smaller, limited agency created to carry on it's legitimate tasks.

  • Sock Monkey||

    "But when the government classifies Juggalos as a gang, they are really criminalizing the poor and disenfranchised."

    Come on, really?

    I don't know whether the "Juggalos" are anything like the criminal threat the government claims they are (I rather doubt it), and kudos to Reason for bringing attention to this.

    We should be just as skeptical that they are poor, put-upon social outcasts. Sounds like some emo attention-whoring to me.

  • chmercier||

    Next up: Those jazz clubs, where youths are routinely exposed to the marijuana cigarettes and untaxed, unsafe liquor, cigarettes, and sexualized dances like the Turkey Trot.

    Jazz club defenders obviously associate without government permission and are will to defend their taste in music. Therefor, jazz is a criminal operation with a nationwide network of thugs to fight for its debauchery.

    Hell, jazz is public enemy #1! It leads to the questioning of authority and lack of faith in the GOV! No greater sin than that!

  • Almanian!||

    Hey oldtimer - you need some help back to Shady Acres Rest Home?

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Those who can only remember the past ... probably have some variant of Alzheimer's.

  • jb4479||

    "Another fan was told he couldn't apply to the Army without removing or covering Insane Clown Posse tattoos, usually a man running with a hatchet."

    I think this young man would find that this applies to anyone seeking to apply to any branch of the military. The regs say that tattoos must not be visible while in uniform.

    It has nothing to do with how stupid the tattoo may be.

  • ace_m82||

    I wonder if the Southern Poverty Law Center were designated a "gang" by some drunk bureaucrat, would they have "standing" to sue?

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I am getting tired of all this "standing to sue" nonsense. Someone gets standing by being harmed by the action of another party, yes? So how is ICP not harmed, when the government slaps a label on the group and its followers, and "encourages" upstanding citizens to disassociate with them? How are the followers NOT harmed if they lose jobs, housing, or other life-necessities and opportunities, based on slurs instigated and/or propagated by the government?

    There is no justice, when an entity harmed by the deliberate actions of another entity, intended to cause such harm, is unable to sue because of "lack of standing." I have seen reports of altogether too many such cases -- whether concerned with the Juggalos or not -- in the past couple of decades. When a wrong has been committed, SOMEBODY needs to be able to stand up in court to right it. Rejecting rightful litigants on legal technicalities is crap.

  • Robert||

    Because Juggalos are not the Insane Clown Posse. Similarly, the Chi. Cubs would have no standing in a case involving the Bleacher Bums.

  • bedfordfailed||

    So if i went to a church in a poor crime ridden neighborhood and a small percentage were committing petty crime and an even smaller percentage is committing serious crimes I can call those church members a hybrid gang because of their association with criminals?

  • Philip Nolan||

    I assume if the FBI lawyer believes that "there is no general right of protection to a social association." that will also apply to the NAACP, the New Back Panthers, the National Association of Women, ACORN just to mention a few.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "She said the government is not responsible for how police agencies use information in the 2011 national gang report."

    We only said you were Enemies of the People. What people do with that information is their business.

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