August 21st, 2012 8:00 am | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: Cops and Courts

Why Does the FBI Call Juggalos a Gang? Because of Oregon Crimes

juggalosJuggalos at Insane Clown Posse concert

Horrorcore rappers Insane Clown Posse announced last week that they're looking into why the Federal Bureau of Investigation has categorized their fans, the Juggalos, as a gang.

The band's front men, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, might want to look at Oregon.

The FBI's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment lists Juggalos as a "hybrid gang," citing a 2010 attack by two Corvallis teenagers on a homeless man. Corvallis police said the teens were Juggalos, according to the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

It's one of only two crimes the FBI attributes to Juggalo gang activity.

But the feds could have mentioned others. A report last year in the Medford Mail-Tribune said Juggalos and Juggalettes were involved in a series of assaults.

Lt. Brett Johnson of the Medford Police Department said that Juggalos are frequently responsible for beatings, intimidation, and harassment, particularly in and around Hawthorne Park. Johnson said that the May 2011 stabbing of 21-year-old Michael Gregory was Juggalo-related.
The Mail-Tribune story also catches a subtlety that the FBI's gang report missed. "Juggalo isn't just a catch-all phrase for homeless or transient youth living in or around Hawthorne Park," Mail-Tribune reporter Mat Wolf wrote, "it's very specifically a group that runs together as a Juggalo family."

In other words, Juggalo culture in Oregon is closely tied to the phenomenon of "street families," groups of mostly white, mostly homeless teenagers who band together under strict codes and often engage in violent rivalries.

In Rene Denfeld's 2007 book All God's Children, she described Portland street families as "a unique creation of street kids, combining elements of fantasy games, Dungeons and Dragons, prison codes, punk fashion, and pagan religions."

Juggalos were one of the two street families prominent at Occupy Portland's camp last fall in two downtown parks. In October, the Juggalos brokered a truce in Chapman and Lownsdale squares with "A" Camp Family to make the parks a non-violent zone.

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