Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

US Hip Hop Fans March on Washington to Protest Gang Designation

US Hip Hop Fans March on Washington to Protest Gang Designation US Hip Hop Fans March on Washington to Protest Gang Designation
Theresa Hayes | 17 September, 2017, 08:27

The American Civil Liberties Union of MI, along with the Detroit music duo Insane Clown Posse (ICP), filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of Juggalos, or fans of ICP, claiming that their constitutional rights to expression and association were violated when the US government wrongly and arbitrarily classified the entire fan base as a "hybrid" criminal gang.

The Juggalo march organizers said the FBI's classification "has resulted in hundreds if not thousands of people subjected to various forms of discrimination, harassment, and profiling", according to their website, which includes testimonials of Juggalos who say they've been profiled at work, school and by law enforcement for being fans of the band or having Insane Clown Posse merchandise or tattoos.

"We're different. We're not risky", Kevin Gill, who is an announcer for a Juggalo wrestling league, said from the rally stage.

Pennsylvania is one of four states that has designated Juggalos as members of a hybrid gang.

"We're here to support our president and this country", said Sue Babinec, who traveled to Washington from Cincinnati for what organizers dubbed the "Mother of All Rallies".

All of those things were triggered by a tattoo, a T-shirt, a vehicle sticker or a poster that had the Insane Clown posse name or logo. She said she had been profiled by police in OH because of the gang designation.

As stated in a Time interview with the duo, Juggalos wear or have tattoos of the iconic symbol of the hip-hop duo.

The band's fans, known as Juggalos, have gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in a show of strength and unity.

The Insane Clown Posse filed a lawsuit against both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department in 2014, demanding for the Juggalos to be removed from the list. "What happens to Jimmy Buffet's Parrotheads?"

This weekend is expected to be a busy one for protesting in the nation's capital, with the Mother of All Rallies, a pro-Trump group that says it wants to preserve American culture; the March to Protect American Democracy, a group that wants the Trump administration to "defend our democracy from Russian interference" and "protect America from future attacks on our elections"; and the Juggalo March.

However in 2011 fans of the group were designated a "loosely organized hybrid gang" in the FBI's 2011 Gang Task Force report. The agency's report cited drug use and "their general destructive and violent nature". They consider themselves a "family" of people who love and help one another and enjoy one another's company.

Also near the National Mall, a crowd marked by the red "Make America Great Again" caps ubiquitous among supporters of President Trump will rally in favor of the administration's policy agenda. The march was described on its website as "a collective statement from the Juggalo Family to the world about what we are and what we are not". So far, the protest seems to be orderly, and with plenty of home-grown art and signs from those who are down with the clowns.

"Right now, there's a demonstration of some sort happening at the White house".