In 2011 the FBI listed "Juggalos," the name for makeup-wearing super-fans of ICP, among known domestic gangs, saying Juggalos are a "loosely organized hybrid gang" who "engage in criminal activity and violence." This prompted ICP to team up with the American Civil Liberties Union to sue the FBI, claiming the classification was false and costing ICP fans their liberty and livelihoods.
One plaintiff said he had to alter his ICP tattoo in order to join the Army, saying he was forcibly "compelled to say 'I like fish,' instead of 'I like ICP.'"
But U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland felt this and similar faults lied with authorities and law enforcement officials who took the classification too far.
"Because any adjudication on the merits would involve speculation about the decisions of these independent actors, the court finds that Plaintiffs have not properly alleged constitutional standing to bring their claims before the court," Cleland wrote Tuesday.
"An injunction mandating the retraction of the 2011 NGTA, even if warranted, would not compel or enjoin any action by the various independent actors who allegedly caused Plaintiffs' injuries, and who are not parties to this action...The court finds that it is 'merely speculative' to assert that Plaintiffs' alleged injury would be redressed by a decision in their favor."
The ACLU disagrees and plans to appeal the decision.
"The only way to remedy this injustice for all innocent Juggalos is to start with the root of the problem -- the FBI's arbitrary and erroneous branding of hundreds of thousands of music fans as gang members," ACLU of Michigan legal director Michael J. Steinberg said in an official statement.
"There is no doubt that the FBI created this problem and the solution begins there as well. Otherwise, we'll be playing whack-o-mole to stop local law enforcement agencies from discriminating against our clients, when the agencies are just following the FBI's lead."
"This is not the end. We'll keep fighting to clear the Juggalo family name," said ICP member Joseph Bruce, who performs under the name Violent J.
"While it is easy to fear what one does not understand, discrimination and bigotry against any group of people is just plain wrong and un-American."
The appeal will be tried in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.