There was another kind of Gathering of the Juggalos on Wednesday when Insane Clown Posse members and fans held a press conference with the American Civil Liberties Union, reports MLive. ICP's two members, rappers Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, showed up in full face paint. The rappers' real names are Joseph Bruce and Joseph Ulster.
The rappers, along with four Juggalos, said that the government was violating their constitutional rights to expression and association by labeling the Juggalo community as a gang and filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The FBI wrote in a 2011 report that Juggalos comprised a "loosely-organized hybrid gang."
Juggalos have a reputation for being violent at music festivals and made headlines after assaulting Tila Tequila when she took the stage at a Gathering of the Juggalos. But Saura Sahu, a lawyer working with the ACLU, said that's not enough to call them a gang. "To brand an entire group based on the actions of a few, it is wrong, it is ridiculous and the constitution does not allow it," she told MLive.
One Juggalo at the press conference, Brandon Bradley, said he has been harassed by police officers in Sacaramento, Calif. ever since the FBI labeled Juggalos as gangsters.
"I hate the fact that all the cars driving past thought I was a criminal, even though I had done nothing wrong," he said. "I want to stand up for our right to be ourselves."
Bruce and Ulster complained that the gang designation has led the group to sustain huge financial losses: Ulster said the group lost $700,000 during the Gathering of the Juggalos last year. "In the FBI's eyes, it's a gang rally," said Ulster.