Metro Detroit hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse and some fans lost a federal appeal claiming a 2011 FBI gang designation caused them to be unfairly targeted, according to the court's decision filed Monday.
The Juggalos, as the duo's fans are known, argued that state and local police in Tennessee and California detained them under suspicion of criminal gang membership because they displayed Juggalo insignia. Others said Juggalo tattoos affected their status in the U.S. Army. And the duo themselves, Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, claimed the gang designation caused an event at Royal Oak Music Theater to be canceled.
It all stems from a 2011 FBI report that classified Juggalos as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang" that was "rapidly expanding in many U.S. communities." Later gang threat assessments didn't include the label, but the Juggalos say the damage was done.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld on Monday a lower court's decision dismissing the lawsuit. The six plaintiffs "failed to demonstrate that the Juggalo gang designation causes legal consequences," according to the decision.
"The government officials who harmed Appellants were not bound by the Juggalo gang designation nor were required to consider the 2011 (FBI) report. Thus, the government officials' actions are not direct consequences of the Juggalo gang designation in the 2011 (FBI) report, but are the product of their own independent decision-making," according to the decision.
The Juggalos held a demonstration in September in Washington, D.C., opposing the gang designation.
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