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Juggalo gangs

2019-08-26 17:36:03
Founding locationDetroit
Years activeMid-2000s–present[1]
EthnicityPredominantly White[2][3][4] (Several of the members are also Native Americans, African Americans and Mestizos, as well as mixed-Caucasian)[2]
Criminal activitiesMurder, assault, drug trafficking, weapon trafficking, arson, burglary, robbery, theft, extortion, racketeering, dog fighting, auto theft[1][2][5]
AlliesAryan Brothers Liberation [2]
Aryan Brotherhood [2]
Aryan Circle [2]
211 Crew [2]
Ku Klux Klan [2]
Sureños [2]
Bloods [2]
Crips [2]
Vice Lords [2]
People Nation [2]
Folk Nation [2]
Gangster Disciples [2]
Black Disciples [2]
Maniac Latin Disciples [2]
Spanish Cobras [2]
Simon City Royals [2]

Juggalo (or Juggalette for females) is a name given to dedicated fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse or any other Psychopathic Records artist.[5] Juggalo subculture originated from ad hoc fan groups for horrorcore hip hop music; in recent years, criminal groups began using the name "Juggalo" and associated imagery from mainstream Juggalo culture.[1][2][3][6] As a result, Juggalos have been classified as a criminal street gang by government and law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation,[3] the National Gang Intelligence Center,[2] and the states of Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, and Utah.[2][3] Juggalo gang sets have been documented by law enforcement in at least 21 states,[3] including those that do not recognize Juggalos as a gang at the state level.[2]

Juggalo gangs band together under the Juggalo banner in order to engage in patterns of criminal activity. Unlike members of the general Juggalo subculture,[2] these gangs have handbooks detailing gang ranks and responsibilities,[4] and commit crimes for financial gain.[2]

The National Gang Intelligence Center has also predicted that "The formation of rivalries or alliances to gangs outside their group will allow the Juggalos to evolve into a more sophisticated criminal entity through associations with hardened, experienced gang members."

Insane Clown Posse objects to characterizations of its fanbase as a gang, and has challenged the Federal gang designation in court. In December 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that ICP failed to demonstrate harm caused by the FBI's 2011 report.


  • 1 Criminal activities
    • 1.1 Rivalries and alliances with other street and prison gangs
    • 1.2 Potential for violence
    • 1.3 Outside the United States
  • 2 Differences between criminal and non-criminal Juggalos
  • 3 Reaction of artists and FBI lawsuit
  • 4 Gang identifiers
  • 5 Perspective of law enforcement officers and gang investigators
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 Further reading

Criminal activities

According to the National Gang Intelligence Center, there are more than one million self-proclaimed Juggalos across the United States. It is estimated that 85–90% of self-described Juggalos are peaceful, non-criminal music fans. The other 10–15% make up the Juggalo subculture's criminal element, which has been linked to numerous crimes including extortion, murder, domestic terrorism, drive-by shootings, drug trafficking, arson, burglary, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and weapon offenses, and has been documented collaborating with a wide array of street and prison gangs.[1][2][3][5]

A series of arsons on a Navajo reservation have been linked to a local Juggalo gang set, which uses arson as a way to increase Juggalos' rank within the gang.[1]

In 2008, members of a Blood-affiliated Juggalo set known as the Southwest Bloods were convicted of aggravated assault after one member was required to stab a man in order to leave the gang.[1]

Juggalos in Rose Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia have been linked to the Gangster Disciples.[7][7]

Juggalos were identified by the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety as the most actively recruiting gang in New Jersey in 2010.[8]

Also in 2010, a Juggalette who was not affiliated with any gang was assaulted by a new Juggalo gang called the Juggalo Killers, who knocked her unconscious before carving the letters "JK" into her chest, because they wanted to be the only group wearing Insane Clown Posse merchandise in their territory.[2]

In 2012, a Juggalo gang member, who was wanted for violating probation, was placed on New Mexico's most wanted list.[9]

Juggalos in Oregon have been reported to have extorted homeless and homosexual individuals on the street with the threat of beatings.[2]

In August 2013, a Juggalo street gang member was arrested on charges of attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a controlled substance for allegedly attacking a cyclist with two meat cleavers in northeast Las Vegas, calling the man a "snitch".[10]

Also in 2013, a Juggalo member in Washington state allegedly stabbed a boy at a birthday party after being mocked for his Juggalo affiliation.[11]

Rivalries and alliances with other street and prison gangs

The National Gang Intelligence Center has noted a high number of Juggalo sets with ties to the Los Angeles-based Bloods gang, although the reason why Juggalos align themselves with Bloods sets remains unclear. In at least one case, the gangs aligned because they share the same gang color (red).[2] Bloods and Juggalos have also collaborated to commit drive-by shootings.[2]

In Pennsylvania, the Bloods and Crips dominate the incarcerated Juggalo gangs and use them for recruitment. In addition, certain Juggalo gangs have allied with violent prison gangs, including the Aryan Brotherhood, Aryan Circle, 211 Crew, and Aryan Brothers Liberation.[2]

Potential for violence

Juggalo gang members are notable for their tendency toward extremely brutal and wanton violence. Juggalo gangs generally prefer edged weapons such as hatchets, machetes, and medieval battle-axes to firearms, and said gangs have been linked to a string of grisly murders throughout the United States.[6] According to the National Gang Intelligence Center, Juggalo gangs are a threat to the community because of their tendency for violence against law enforcement, innocent civilians, and other members of their group, and Juggalos in Colorado have become increasingly involved in violent crime, including aggravated assault and homicide.[2]

Several law enforcement officers have commented on the Juggalo gang's tendency toward extreme violence. Arizona Department of Public Safety Detective Michelle Vasey has also expressed concern at the Juggalos high potential for violence, stating "The weapons, they prefer, obviously, hatchets ... We've got battle-axes, we've got machetes, anything that can make the most violent, gruesome wound," and "Some of the homicides we're seeing with these guys are pretty nasty, gruesome, disgusting homicides, where they don't care who's around, what's around, they're just out to kill anybody."[6]

Juggalos are listed in Montana's official handbook of security threat groups, which states that Juggalos are "a threat to law enforcement" and "very violent, Like Many blood sets

Outside the United States

On June 28, 2010, three youths in Fairfield, Australia believed to have been Juggalos attempted to rob a 20-year-old woman waiting outside a club.[12]

Differences between criminal and non-criminal Juggalos

Juggalo gang experts have stressed that not all self-proclaimed Juggalos are criminals or gang members. Detective Michelle Vasey has commented, "I don't want people to go out there and look at every Juggalo and say, 'Oh, he's a gang member, he's got a machete and he's going to slice and dice everybody.' But people need to be aware that there are huge issues that have evolved in just the last three years both in the eastern and western United States where we've got multiple individuals committing gang-related crimes, gang-motivated crimes, and they're using the name Juggalo."[6]

According to law enforcement research, including an interview with an admitted Juggalo gang member, the Juggalo subculture has recently split into two very different groups: the music fans and the criminal street gang. Some members of the Juggalos street gang even look down on non-criminal Juggalos, considering them to be weak,[2] and criminal Juggalo gangs have committed attacks on non-gang-related Juggalos.

These criminal Juggalo subsets are being formed by a new generation of Juggalos who are attempting to evolve the Juggalo subculture into a collection of smaller gangs or cliques.[2]

The Juggalo subculture has several features in common with traditional gangs, including throwing hand signs, wearing matching clothing, and getting matching tattoos.[1] However, criminal Juggalo subsets contain gang-like features that the general Juggalo population does not, including gang initiations, handbooks detailing rules and punishments for gang members, formal leadership structure, gang colors, and the tendency to engage in organized patterns of serious criminal activity.[1][2][4]

Police officers in Sacramento have stated that while a fast-growing gang using the Juggalo name is contained within the Juggalo subculture, most Juggalos are law-abiding citizens, which makes it difficult to tell the difference between Juggalo gang members and Juggalo fans.[13]

Reaction of artists and FBI lawsuit

The FBI's classification of Juggalos as a gang has caused confusion, resulting in many peaceful, non-criminal Juggalos being mistaken for their criminal counter-parts by police and by ordinary citizens.[citation needed] This type of confusion along with the fact that Hot Topic will no longer stock Psychopathic Records merchandise in states that legally consider Juggalos to be a gang, has prompted Insane Clown Posse to file a lawsuit against the FBI.[14] In December 2012, ICP and Psychopathic Records quietly agreed to withdraw as plaintiffs in the case,[citation needed] and the FBI later released a report justifying their decision to classify Juggalos as a gang. However, ICP later announced that they would follow through with the lawsuit anyway.[citation needed] On August 23, 2013, the FBI asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit against them.[15]

In an interview given in 2013, Shaggy 2 Dope of Insane Clown Posse addressed the Juggalo gang classification and the impending FBI lawsuit. He stated that at first he believed that the classification of Juggalos was "pretty dope" because it would afford the band a tougher image, but later changed his mind after realizing the negative repercussions of being labeled a gang, such as gang enhancements for Juggalos who commit crimes. He also expressed concern about innocent Juggalos being targeted in "Shithole, Nebraska" by MS-13 members. He argued that while some Juggalos are criminals and gang members, he does not believe that Juggalos as a whole constitute a gang.[16]

In January 2014 Insane Clown Posse along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed suit again against the FBI. The suit aimed to have Juggalos no longer considered to be a gang and to have any "criminal intelligence information" about Juggalos destroyed.[17] The suit was dismissed in July 2014, ruling that that band and its fans lack standing to bring the suit. The ACLU has stated that it intends to appeal the dismissal.[18][19]

In September 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati overruled the circuit court[20] and remanded the case for action consistent with the ruling.[21] No court date has been set.

On September 16, 2017, a rally was held in front if the Washington Monument reflective pool in Washington, D.C. marching for the declassification of Juggalos as gang members.[22]

In December 2017 the Sixth Circuit ruled that ICP failed to demonstrate harm caused by the FBI's 2011 report.[23]

Gang identifiers

Gang identifiers used by Juggalo gang members include, but are not limited to:

  • Gang colors, depending on the individual set, especially black, white, and red[1][2]
  • Psychopathic Records clothing and paraphernalia[1]
  • Tattoos related to Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records, including the six "joker's card" album covers and the record label's "Hatchet Man" logo.[2]
  • Throwing gang signs[1][2]
  • Evil clown-themed face paint, mainly in black and white paints[1][2]

Perspective of law enforcement officers and gang investigators

The emergence of Juggalo gang subsets has created a sharp divide between gang investigators in the United States, with some considering the entire subculture to fit the definition of a criminal gang, while others stress that the subculture's criminal element makes up only a small portion of the Juggalo population.[1] A report released by the National Gang Intelligence Center in 2010 supports the latter assertion.[2]

A report released by the Rocky Mountain Information Network states that, "Just because we do not understand this phenomenon fully, we can’t as gang detectives ignore it ... We in law enforcement must be willing to take that extra step in our intelligence gathering to see if we are in fact dealing with a gang member or just a crazed fan."[1]

Detective Michelle Vasey has stated that not all Juggalos are violent or criminals, and the music is not to blame: "We can't necessarily say that [the music's] to blame. But I think it definitely does have some influences. As an officer we have to decide when we're talking to these guys, who do we need to worry about and who don't we need to worry about."[6]

Police Lt. Scott Conley has stated, "Those involved in the criminal side of (Juggalos) cause us some concern. If they are not involved in criminal activity, they can do their own thing, as long as they haven't crossed that criminal element line ... The attraction to that music, or those people following that music, I have no problem with. When they start breeding disruption in the community, showing up in libraries to harm people with butcher knives up their sleeves, I have a problem. I have to get involved with the community."

The official web site of Montana's department of corrections contains an explanation for Juggalos' classification as a security threat group: "the Juggalos are a recognized STG group that would never classify itself as a street gang. They are more like a cult that follows mimics and idolizes the music group, Insane Clown Posse. The music encourages and condones extreme acts of violence, which some Juggalos carry out. Juggalo members paint their faces black and white, dress in black clothing, attend raves together that often end violently, and consider themselves a family."[24]

However, some law enforcement officers have been firm in their assertion that Juggalos are a criminal group. Police watch commander Jay Mackanin of Citrus Heights has stated that, "Juggalos are a gang. I know sometimes they say they're not, but they are."[25]

Kelly Snyder, a former Drug Enforcement Administration officer who tracks Juggalo activity across the U.S., has stated that "It almost has the taste of a cult...The perception is that something is obviously not right here...It's not going to stop. So far they are almost committing the perfect crime."[26]

See also

  • List of Juggalo gang subsets


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an
  3. ^ a b c d e f "FBI — 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment". Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b c (2009-10-02). "Utah Local News – Salt Lake City News, Sports, Archive – The Salt Lake Tribune". Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  6. ^ a b c d e Bashir, Martin (2010-03-09). "Law Enforcement Claims 'Horrorcore' Genre Incites Crime – ABC News". Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  7. ^ a b Sommer, Will (2011-02-22). "Latin Kings and MS-13: Detectives Talk About Franconia's Gang Problem – Police & Fire – Kingstowne-Rose Hill, VA Patch". Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Gang Member Removed from New Mexico's Most Wanted".
  10. ^ Snyder, Riley. "Juggalo gang member arrested after attack involving pair of dulled meat cleavers – Las Vegas Sun News". Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  11. ^ Pulkkinen, Levi (September 8, 2013), "Charge: Kent Juggalo stabbed boy at birthday party", Seattle P-I
  12. ^ Violent street clowns hit Sydney: Meet the Juggalos and Juggalettes
  13. ^ "Local Police Say 'Juggalo' Gangs Dangerous".
  14. ^ File Photo. "Insane Clown Posse suing FBI in Flint federal court over Juggalo gang listing". Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  15. ^ File Photo. "Feds ask Flint judge to dismiss Insane Clown Posse Juggalo gang lawsuit". Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  16. ^ Ali, Reyan (7 May 2013). "Exploring Insane Clown Posse's Case Against the FBI". WCCT. WTXX-TV. Archived from the original on 25 June 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  17. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (8 January 2014). "Insane Clown Posse Defends Fans, With F.B.I. Lawsuit". NY Times. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  18. ^ Parker, Ryan (July 8, 2014). "Insane Clown Posse to fight dismissal of FBI gang-label lawsuit". LA Times. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  19. ^ "Insane Clown Posse loses lawsuit over FBI gang designation". CBS News. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  20. ^ |url=
  21. ^ url=
  22. ^ Gabat, Adam (September 17, 2017). "Juggalos march on Washington: 'We're a family not a gang'". The Guardian.
  23. ^ Hawkins, Derek (2017-12-19). "Bad news for the Juggalos: The FBI's gang label could be here to stay". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  24. ^ "Department of Corrections – stg.mcpx". 2013-07-22. Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  25. ^ "Sacramento News & Review – Insane criminal prosecution: FBI vs. Juggalos comes to Sacramento – Feature Story – Local Stories – January 23, 2014". Sacramento News & Review.
  26. ^ Marcelino Benito. "Blueprint for murder? 9OYS investigates the 'Juggalo' connection". KGUN. Archived from the original on 2014-05-21.

Further reading

  • Fudge, Zachariah D. (Summer 2014), "Gang Definitions, How Do They Work?: What the Juggalos Teach Us About the Inadequacy of Current Anti-Gang Law", Marquette Law Review, 97 (4), p. 987