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A federal court judge has dismissed a lawsuit on behalf of rap group Insane Clown Posse and their fans challenging an FBI report that the group's legions of face-painting fans -- known as Juggalos -- amounted to a criminal gang.
The lawsuit, filed by the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), claimed that Juggalos have been targeted by law enforcement since a 2011 FBI report characterized them as a "loosely organized hybrid gang," according to The Associated Press.
Why did the judge toss the group's suit?
According to the U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland's opinion, the government is not responsible for how authorities choose to act on the information provided by the FBI's report.
Cleland described the report as a "descriptive, rather than prescriptive, assessment of nationwide gang trends" and found that the report "does not recommend any particular course of action for local law enforcement to follow."
So for now, at least, law enforcement agencies can continue to consider the FBI's advice in considering the Juggalos as a "hybrid gang."
The lawsuit, filed earlier this year, named the two members of Insane Clown Posse and four Juggalos who claimed to have been subjected to police harassment because of their affiliation with the group as plaintiffs.
The suit claimed that the FBI's designation of Juggalos as a gang violated both the Posse's and the Juggalos' constitutional rights, including the right to due process and the First Amendment right to free speech. It sought to have the report expunged, to halt any further investigation by the government into Juggalos as a gang, and to obtain a declaratory judgment that the designation was unconstitutional.
The legal battle is not quite over yet, however. The ACLU plans to appeal the judge's ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Reuters reports.
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