In 2011, a report from the FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center classified juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang,” marking surely the first time an American law enforcement institution has officially named members of a certain music-based subculture as, essentially, criminals. In 2012, ICP, always fiercely protective of their fans, sued the FBI, requesting the the Bureau disclose any documents that it used to make that classification, but the FBI made a motion to dismiss the suit. Now, though, ICP is filing another suit, and they’re teaming up with the American Civil Liberties Union and a few more plaintiffs.
The New York Times reports that the latest lawsuit, filed in a Michigan Federal District Court, claims that the FBI’s classification is an “unwarranted and unlawful decision” that’s already caused “significant harm” to many juggalos. ICP also has included four juggalos from around the country as plaintiffs, and they’ve all claimed to be victims of some sort of discrimination stemming from that FBI report. (One plaintiff, for example, is a Las Vegas truck driver who claims that Tennessee state troopers detained him for displaying an ICP sticker on his truck.)
You don’t have to like ICP’s music to respect their mission here. Juggalos may be an unruly bunch, but it would be a massive stretch to label them as a gang, loosely organized or not. And when one subculture is subject to institutional demonization, the same can happen to any other.