Insane Clown Posse scored a major victory in their efforts to remove their "Juggalos" fanbase from the FBI's list of organized gangs as a federal appeals court ordered that a Michigan court hear the case. ICP's lawsuit against the FBI, filed with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, was initially dismissed from a district court in January 2014, citing failure to prove "injuries suffered." But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati ultimately overturned that decision Thursday, NBC News reports.
The lawsuit stems from a report filed by the FBI's National Gang Intelligence Center in 2011 that labeled Juggalos as a "loosely organized hybrid gang," a designation that members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope claimed unfairly profiled their fanbase. The duo alleged that their fans often lost their jobs, were discharged from the military and even were evicted from their homes because of the FBI's report that associated ICP's clown logo as a gang emblem. Their notoriety as a "organized gang" also resulted in canceled concerts.
“We're thankful that the Juggalo family will finally get their day in court," the duo said in a statement on their official site following Thursday's ruling. "Discrimination against someone based solely upon the type of music they listen to is just flat out wrong and it’s time that the legal system acknowledges that. The FBI's labeling of Juggalos as a gang has wreaked havoc on thousands of lives, resulting in job losses, dismissal from military service, eviction, lost child custody and constant harassment and profiling from law enforcement organizations all across the country."
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment.
Insane Clown Posse also proclaimed Thursday's decision as a "major step in our fight to clear our family name." No court date for the lawsuit has been scheduled yet. The duo said in closing, "Thank you for standing strong with us in this battle and MUCH CLOWN LOVE! WHOOP WHOOP."