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‘Juggalos’ in Face Paint and Masks March on Washington to Protest Gang Classification by FBI

2 minute read

Saturday was a busy day in the nation’s capital. On the National Mall, supporters of President Donald Trump gathered for a “Mother of all Rallies.” They shared the space with another demonstration with a very different cause — face paint and mask-wearing “Juggalos” — passionate fans of the “horrorcore” rap group Insane Clown Posse (ICP) — protesting what they say is discriminatory treatment by the FBI.

“We’re different. We’re not dangerous,” a speaker said from the rally stage. “Music is not a crime.”

A 2011 report by the FBI labeled Juggalos as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” that is “forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity.”

The Justice Department’s Gang Task Force places Juggalos in the same classification as notoriously violent gangs such as the Bloods and Crips, according the Associated Press.

“We’re painting our faces and clowning around,” said Fonz Tobin, a 25-year-old from Albuquerque, N.M., who joined the Juggalos when he was 13, according to USA Today.

He told the paper that he works at Target while pursuing film production on the side. “Am I out there dealing drugs? Am I out there shooting people up?” he said. “No. I have a job.”

Organizers wrote on the march’s website that the FBI’s classification “has resulted in hundreds if not thousands of people subjected to various forms of discrimination, harassment, and profiling simply for identifying as a Juggalo.”

In 2014, the two members of the ICP and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the FBI in order to change the change the Juggalos’ status, but to no avail.

“It’s time for the FBI to come to its senses and recognize that Juggalos are not a gang but a worldwide family united by the love of music,” Joseph Bruce (aka Violent J), a member of ICP, said at the time. “There has never been—and will never be—a music fan base quite like Juggalos, and while it is easy to fear what one does not understand, discrimination and bigotry against any group of people is just plain wrong and un-American.”

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