The Insane Clown Posse sued the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday over a 2011 FBI report that describes the rap-metal duo’s devoted fans, the Juggalos, as a dangerous gang, saying the designation has tarnished reputations and hurt business.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in Detroit federal court on behalf of the group’s two members, Joseph Bruce, or Violent J, and Joseph Utsler, or Shaggy 2 Dope. It also names four fans as plaintiffs.
The FBI report on criminal gangs labeled the Juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.” It said those who identify as Juggalos have committed assaults and vandalism, and a “small number” of them have engaged in more serious crimes.
The lawsuit contends that the gang designation violates free speech and due process rights.
“It is a quintessential civil liberties case challenging government abuse,” said Michael Steinberg, the legal director of ACLU Michigan.
At a news conference in Detroit, Bruce, 41, and Utsler, 39, wore their trademark face paint. The Detroit-area pair said Juggalos are like a family, not a gang, and they want their fans purged from the report.
Guitarists leave Allman Brothers Band
Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks are leaving the Allman Brothers Band at the end of the year. A statement released by the band’s spokeswomen Wednesday said the guitarists are leaving the rock band to spend more time with their families and work on other musical projects.
Haynes joined the group in 1989, while Trucks became a member in 1999.
The Allman Brothers Band is set to perform Friday in a tribute to Gregg Allman at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. The band is also scheduled to celebrate the group’s 45th anniversary in March with 10 shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York.
Chris Brown rejects assault plea deal
Lawyers for singer Chris Brown told a judge Wednesday that he has rejected a plea deal on a charge that he hit a man outside a Washington hotel.
Prosecutors had offered a deal in which Brown would plead guilty to the misdemeanor assault charge he faces. One of Brown’s lawyers, Danny Onorato, said outside of court that attorneys rejected the deal because Brown is not guilty.
Brown’s lawyers said in court that they expect a trial date to be set at another hearing, scheduled for Feb. 20.
The R&B singer was arrested after a man said the singer struck him outside the W Hotel when he tried to get in a picture Brown was taking with two other people.
The birthday bunch
Folk singer Joan Baez is 73. Rock guitarist Jimmy Page is 70. Singer David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) is 64. Singer Crystal Gayle is 63. Actor J.K. Simmons is 59. Actress Joely Richardson is 49. Rock singer-musician Dave Matthews is 47. Singer A.J. McLean (Backstreet Boys) is 36.