The FBI on Wednesday released a trove of records compiled by investigators prior to placing Juggalos, die-hard fans of the Insane Clown Posse rap group, on its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment.
Consisting of over 100 pages’ worth of emails, memos and news reports, the records predate publication of the FBI report that described Juggalos as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” — a label contested by ICP’s members and the subject of a lengthy federal court fight.
“The Juggalos are a violent street gang whose membership follow a small niche of the rap scene, known as ‘horrorcore,’” reads an FBI memo included in the dump. “The genre is mainly associated with Detroit artist Insane Clown Posse, but has spawned a host of imitators who excite crowds with musical horror stories in which murder, rape and suicide are recurrent themes.”
Dated March 15, 2011, the memo was issued by the FBI’s Salt Lake City office in tandem with the opening of a federal criminal enterprise investigation into Juggalos, according to the document:
“This enterprise Investigation seeks to examine the structure, scope and relationships pertaining to the captioned violent street gang; to identify members and the organizational structures of the gang; to identify relationships between the members of the gang; to identify all illegal activities which may constitute a pattern of racketeering activity conducted by individual gang members and groups of gang members and which may support prosecutions for federal violations.”
The FBI listed Juggalos in its annual National Gang Threat Assessment published eight months later, effectively placing ICP’s fans alongside members of the Bloods, Crips and MS-13. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the FBI in 2014 on behalf of four self-described Juggalos and ICP’s two members, Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, but their efforts to have the gang label rescinded were ultimately rejected by a federal appeals court in December.
“The FBI received more than three FOIA requests for Insane Clown Posse material, and the documents were posted to the FBI Vault pursuant to FOIA public inspection requirements,” an FBI spokesperson told The Washington Times. “Specifically, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 requires agencies to make available for public inspection in an electronic format records that have been requested three or more times (known as the “Rule of 3”). Accordingly, the FBI posts such records to the FBI Vault.”
A media contact for ICP did not immediately return messages seeking comment. ICP previously said that the gang label “resulted in hundreds if not thousands of people subjected to various forms of discrimination, harassment and profiling simply for identifying as a Juggalo.”
Other documents included among the 121-pages published on the FBI’s website Wednesday include arrest reports and news articles from across the country detailing criminal cases against suspected Juggalos.
One of the earliest documents, dated June 24, 2008, showed the FBI was interested in that summer’s “Gathering of the Juggalos,” an annual festival organized by ICP every year since 2000.
“The fans of the group have been linked and are known to commit violent acts not only during concerts but at other times,” the document said. “Previous communications have documented the Juggalos as a legitimate gang with a large following. The fan base is known to number in the thousands and they follow the ICP in almost a religious manner.
“Juggalos are in a type of gang war in California with the MS-13 gang and are holding their own against them,” an unidentified source told law enforcement, according to the 2008 memo. “Juggalos are known to be present in all 50 states and numerous foreign countries.”