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Insane Clown Posse gang lawsuit dismissed

Joseph Bruce aka Violent J, left, and Joseph Utsler aka Shaggy 2 Dope, members of the Insane Clown Posse.

Carlos Osorio/AP, file

Joseph Bruce aka Violent J, left, and Joseph Utsler aka Shaggy 2 Dope, members of the Insane Clown Posse.

DETROIT (AP) — The federal government can’t be blamed for any fallout from a 2011 FBI report that put a gang tag on fans of the music group Insane Clown Posse, a judge said.

US District Judge Robert Cleland dismissed a lawsuit by the rap-metal duo and fans, known as Juggalos, who said they’ve been targeted by police because they have jewelry or tattoos with the group’s symbol, a man running with a hatchet.

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Cleland said the US Justice Department is not responsible for how authorities use a national report on gangs.

The report ‘‘does not recommend any particular course of action for local law enforcement to follow, and instead operates as a descriptive, rather than prescriptive, assessment of nationwide gang trends,’’ Cleland said in a 14-page opinion last week.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit on behalf of Juggalos and the group, claiming their constitutional rights to free speech and due process were violated by the report.

The FBI report 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. There is no mention of them in the latest report.

The ACLU said it will appeal Cleland’s decision.

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‘‘This is not the end. We’ll keep fighting to clear the Juggalo family name,’’ Insane Clown Posse member Joseph Bruce, known as Violent J, said in a statement released by the ACLU.

‘‘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,’’ he said.

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