The Michigan rap group Insane Clown Posse and four fans, known as Juggalos, have filed a federal lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department because its followers are being classified as a "hybrid gang."
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, charged that the group's fans have been subjected to harassment by police, denied admission into the U.S. military and lost custody of their children for identifying themselves as Juggalos, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday
The suit, according to the Free Press, stated that the followers fear that they could lose their jobs and gain criminal records just because they are fans of the suburban Detroit musical group.
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"Among the supporters of almost any group – whether it be a band, sports team, university, political organization or religion – there will be some people who violate the law. Inevitably, some will do so while sporting the group's logos or symbols," said the filing, according to CNN.com
. "However, it is wrong to designate the entire group of supporters as a criminal gang based on the acts of a few. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened here."
The Insane Clown Posse has been asking the FBI since 2012 for information that led the agency to label its fans gang members, but so far most of the documents contained media stories detailing robberies and violence in which "Juggalos" were suspects, noted CNN.
The Justice Department included the Juggalos as part of its National Gang Threat Assessment in 2011 because of criminal activities by its members, according to the Free Press. The newspaper said the department claims that there are more than a million Juggalos throughout the country.
The band had had two albums that have sold more than two million copies and two more gold albums. An annual bash for fans in Illinois draws thousands of Juggalos.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is assisting in the lawsuit, said the government's gang designation has caused real harm to the band and its fans, according to CNN.
A venue in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Mich. canceled an Insane Clown Posse concert, known as "Hallowicked," at the request of police, the lawsuit contended.
"It's un-American," Farris Haddad, a Detroit-area attorney told the Free Press. "It's as if we're living in the Soviet Union."
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