Detroit hip hop act sues feds over gang classification

For those who grew up in the 1990s, the act at the center of this need no introduction. For the rest of you…

Meet the Insane Clown Posse. This Detroit “horrorcore” hip hop duo is perhaps best known for its short stint in the WWE (yes, that WWE) and for showering its fans at shows with Faygo sodas. The pair, dubbed Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, have been around for 20 years. You can’t be a music act for that long without having a loyal fan following. It’s logo is a silhouette of a clown running with a cleaver.

And boy, does ICP have a massive and loyal fan following. Their fans, called Juggalos, mostly travel far and wide to see the two, particularly at the annual “Gathering of the Juggalos,” a weekend long festival of music and frivolity starring ICP and the rest of the acts on its Psychopathic Records label. They even have an infomercial (language NSFW in places):

As you can imagine, Juggalos are largely young, white males who dress up like their ICP. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Juggalos are also a gang, a “non-traditional” one, right up there with the Latin Kings.

Represented by Birmingham-based entertainment lawyer Howard Hertz, the band has sued the federal government on behalf of its fans. Shaggy 2 Dope explained the band’s position to The Village Voice, complete with a civics lesson. [via Gawker]

“You’re trying to grow love in your country and s***,” Shaggy 2 Dope told me last month. “Then the head of your country—the FBI—just turns around and f***ing kicks you in the nuts. How are you supposed to respond to that?”

Yes, America, exactly how are you supposed to respond to that?

The VV writer went to the recent Gathering and heard first hand the Juggalos tales of woe.

Spend an hour wandering around the Gathering and you’ll hear story after story after story about cops, schools, and bureaucracies discriminating against Juggalos for wearing Insane Clown Posse gear and their label’s Hatchetman logo. There’s the guy who lost his kids to a foster home because of his tattoo. There’s the Juggalo who was discharged from the United States military for having a Psychopathic Records CD. There’s the Wisconsin kid who was forbidden from wearing Insane Clown Posse shirts to school, but didn’t have money for new clothes, so he kept getting suspended.

“I know it’s just Juggalos and to a lot of people out there, that’s the lowest life form,” acknowledges Violent J. “But they’re being fucked with heavily. And this is some extraordinary shit that’s happening to us.”

ICP has a website, JuggalosFightBack.com, at which its asking Juggalos to tell their tales of harassment so that they “can fight for you in Court.”

But seriously, the report is pretty strange, particularly in its description of a band’s “criminal” makeup.

 Most Juggalo criminal groups are not motivated to migrate based upon traditional needs of a gang.

That’s because they are 14.

And, fellas, if you don’t want you or your fans to be associated with gangs, it would help if you didn’t flash gang signs in photos on your website.

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Report has fresh details about bomb incident at Detroit federal building

You may recall reports of a bomb incident in March 2011 at the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building in Detroit, which houses the FBI and other federal agencies.

New details have emerged in a recent report the Department of Homeland Security has issued about the incident.

The bottom line: Someone left a canvas bag containing a small locked safe outside the federal building. A security guard brought the bag inside, where it sat under a security checkpoint desk for three weeks before someone figured out there was a bomb inside the safe.

Several guards who saw the bag under the desk assumed it was either found property or personal property of another guard.

Over the three weeks, the bag and its contents were looked at, X-rayed and shaken by guards and their supervisors, who were trying to figure out what was inside.

Update: Video of rampant speculation about the contents of the canvas bag.

Eventually two guards did the right thing. When they used screening equipment and could not identify the bag’s contents, they notified a Federal Protective Service (FPS) inspector, who determined that the bag might contain a bomb and took appropriate actions.

The report concluded that DECO, Inc., the contractor that supplies security services to the FPS, “committed multiple breaches of its contract” but those breaches “were the result of poor judgment by the guard [who brought the bag inside], not systemic problems with DECO.

“FPS also bears some responsibility for the bag that contained the IED [improvised explosive device] remaining in the building for 21 days.”

As a result of the incident, the guard who brought the bag inside was fired, along with two other guards. Another resigned before being fired. Written warnings or suspensions were issued to 16 other DECO employees.

Since shortly after the incident, the FPS has been renewing its contract with DECO in three-month increments. The FPS intends to solicit a new contract for guard services in Michigan. DECO will be allowed to bid on the new contract, according to the report.