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'Juggalos' Fight Back Against Gang Designation

DETROIT (WWJ) -- Are they members of a "hybrid" criminal gang -- as the federal government contends -- or simply music fans?

The case of the "Juggalos" -- the nickname given to fans of the Detroit hip hop duo, Insane Clown Posse -- is set to be heard in Detroit federal court. The issue is a 2011 decision by federal law enforcement identifying ICP fans as a "criminal gang".

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan will be defending fans of the Detroit hardcore hip hop duo.

Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan, will be representing the "Juggalos" in federal court Monday.

"You are going to have a small number of people who are bad apples," Steinberg said. "That's true whether you're talking about the fans of a sports organization or religion or political group. But you can't blame and punish an entire group based on the acts of a few."

The FBI -- which declined to comment on a pending case -- is seeking to have the group's lawsuit dismissed.

"What the federal government has done is branded hundreds of thousands of music fans gang members based on a acts of a very few individuals," Steinberg said. "What we're asking the judge to do, ultimately, is to require the Department of Justice to remove the Juggalos from the gang database."

Steinberg said that ICP fans have been harassed, denied jobs and even denied entrance to the military.

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