DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Juggalos get another day in court.
A federal appeals court has reversed a lower court’s ruling, reviving a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Insane Clown Posse against the FBI.READ MORE: Michigan Matters: Theaters & Politics
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday the Detroit rap-metal duo’s case should continue. Lawyers say authorities have unfairly targeted Insane Clown Posse’s fans, known as Juggalos.
A 2011 FBI report said the Juggalos are a “loosely organized hybrid gang.”
A Detroit federal judge said the Justice Department isn’t responsible for how authorities use the report. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan says free speech and due process rights of the group and its fans are being violated. Many claim they have been targeted by police because they have jewelry or tattoos with the group’s symbol, a man running with a hatchet.
Insane Clown Posse’s members are Joseph Bruce, known as Violent J, and Joseph Utsler, or Shaggy 2 Dope.
Bruce has previously said labeling the band’s fans as “dangerous gang members” is causing lasting harm.READ MORE: CDC: New Listeria Outbreak Tied To 23 Illnesses, 1 Death
“Parents have lost custody of their kids, they’ve been fired from jobs, they’ve been denied housing,” he said. “They’ve been subjected to illegal searches and sometimes (they’re) added to a gang database simply for walking down a street wearing an ICP t-shirt.”
Because of the government’s actions, Bruce said, some stores now refuse to carry ICP music; and one fan claims the Army tried to force him to have his ICP tattoo removed.
Self-described Juggalo — Brandon Bradley of Sacramento, Calif. — says he’s been stopped several times by police for wearing his ICP hatchet man pendant and other ICP gear.
“I would just be walking down the road and they’ll ask me about, you know, why do I have this jacket … why are you a Juggalo, you know … when did you start listening to this music?” Bradley said. “And they’ll just treat me like I’m doing something wrong when I’m just getting back from work, you know. They’ll just harass me over what I’m wearing.”
Bradley, who is a plaintiff in the case, believes that because of the FBI gang designation, his name is in a gang database — which impacts his ability to work in a field like law enforcement — something he has long wanted to do.
ICP has come under fire in recent years over drug use by their fans; especially at the annual “Gathering of the Jugglaos” where there have been several overdoses, and a few deaths. The festival, described as “Juggalo Woodstock,” draws thousands of attendees each year.MORE NEWS: Red Wings Hire Lightning Assistant Derek Lalonde As Coach
TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.