Paul Detrick on Government vs. the Juggalos


The term Juggalos refers to the devoted followers of the Insane Clown Posse, a rap duo hailing from Detroit, Michigan, known for its horror-themed lyrics and hits like "Miracles," "Rainbows N' Stuff," and "Down With the Clown." The group's super fans spawned a full-fledged cultural identity that's on display at the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, a drug-addled three-day festival held in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, featuring carnival rides, nudity, wet T-shirt contests, wrestling matches, and a lot of Faygo, the inexpensive soda favored by the group.

Federal law enforcement officials have a different take. The U.S. Department of Justice classified the Juggalos as a "hybrid gang" in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, accusing the group of "criminal activity" and "violence." In the years since, they've often been subject to routine stops, detainment, and interrogation by local police, who use the DOJ's assessment as guidance for how to understand the group.

But as Paul Detrick reports, now the Juggalos are fighting back. In January 2014, the Insane Clown Posse along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sued the federal government over its classification.