Fear of clowns (coulrophobia) is no laughing matter, at least not for those unfortunate to suffer from it. But when it comes to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – spending 14 months, substantial manpower and a small fortune of taxpayers money – to investigate a group of musicians dressing up as clowns, only to find that they are just that, musicians dressing up as clowns, it’s time for therapy.
“Insane Clown Posse can’t get its music on the radio, but claims to have 1 million devoted fans who call themselves ‘Juggalos’ or ‘Juggalettes,’ and sometimes paint their faces to look like wicked clowns. “
Never mind the guns, or the drugs, there are things that scare the US law enforcement even more; clown makeup. Newly disclosed documents reveal the genesis of one of the strangest tales involving youth culture, drugs, law enforcement and clown makeup, one that prompted a 14-month FBI investigation that ultimately proved to be totally worthless.
This almost unbelievable story began in 2011 when the FBI for some reason listed s group of music fans calling themself “Juggalos” in its 2011 report on national gang activity.
According to the Bureau, the “Juggalos” were more than just goofy kids who sprayed themselves with soda at Insane Clown Posse festivals. In the eye of the FBI, they were a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” that’s “forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity.”
For a long time many of the involved musicians and their fans have been wondering how on Earth the experienced investigators at the FBI could come to such a conclusion.
But recently MuckRock, a Massachusetts company that built web tools to help journalists, activists and lawyers file Freedom of Information Act requests, set out to find an answer to the question.
And the records show that the whole thing was triggered by the arrest of two Juggalos by Utah local police for possession of drug in March 2011, then leading an obviously coulrophobic FBI agent in Salt Lake City to open a sprawling investigation into “the structure, scope and relationships pertaining to the captioned violent street gang.”
The drugs, and the amounts of them, are unspecified in the disclosure. Nor is it clear if individuals wore Juggalo makeup at the time of their arrests, Muck Rock reports.
However, the Salt Lake FBI dude wrote on March 15 2011 to his superior officer that Juggalo crimes in “several states included drug sales, possession and child endangerment,”which fit a pattern of crimes typically seen by gangs or gang members.”
And that’s not all:
Murder, Rape and Suicide
“Insane Clown Posse can’t get its music on the radio,” the agent explained, “but claims to have 1 million devoted fans who call themselves ‘Juggalos’ or ‘Juggalettes,’ and sometimes paint their faces to look like wicked clowns. Some continue the dress by carrying small axes, like the cartoon hatchet man associated with the band.”
Adding that among the “recurrent themes” of the Insane Clown Posse’s music are: “murder, rape and suicide.”
The FBI agent then proposed an investigative plan to use “a variety of lawful methods” to learn more about the gang activities of the Juggalos.
“Investigators must start with and work at length at street-level drug purchases of smaller amounts of drugs, surveillance, gang member debriefs, witness debriefs, confidential human source recruitment, and other traditional or non-sophisticated techniques,” the agent wrote.
Seven months later the investigation was nation wide, with agents trawling the social media for suspicious clowns.
The FBI’s nationwide gang task force warned that, among other fears, “social networking websites are a popular conveyance for Juggalo sub-culture to communicate and expand.”
On May 4, 2012, the Salt Lake City division of the FBI recommended the cases to be closed.
Except for the two clowns busted for drugs, the agency had not been ale to pin as much as a shoplifted can of spray paint on the notorious hip hop fans.
Hard Core Hip Hop
Joseph Bruce (Violent J) and Joseph Utsler (Shaggy 2 Dope) met in Oak Park, a suburb on the North border of Detroit, Michigan. Along with Utsler’s brother, John, and friend, Lacy, they wrestled in backyard rings that they had built themselves. They also listened to hip hop music, including 3rd Bass, Beastie Boys, N.W.A and local rappers like Awesome Dre.
In 1989, Joseph Bruce, as Jagged Joe, Joseph Utsler, as Kangol Joe, and John Utsler, as Master J, released the single titled “Party at the Top of the Hill” under the name of JJ Boys, but the group did not pursue a serious career in music. Poverty and a difficult home life drove Bruce to move in with Rudy “The Rude Boy” Hill in River Rouge, a city near the industrial southwest side of Detroit.
Feeling a sense of home and belonging, Bruce formed a gang called Inner City Posse, which was composed of Joseph Utsler, Rudy Hill, other friends of Bruce, and a number of other connections he had made in Southwest Detroit. Bruce was jailed for ninety days in 1989–1990 for death threats, robbery, and violating probation; this experience convinced him to reduce his involvement in gang life. Bruce began his professional wrestling career after getting out of jail, and it was at his first show that he met Rob Van Dam and Sabu, two other first-timers with whom he became very good friends. During this time Bruce brought Utsler backstage with him, and all four became close friends.
Bruce became frustrated with the backstage politics of the wrestling business and began searching for another career. Back on the streets, Bruce, Utsler and Utsler’s brother, John performed hip hop music at local night clubs, using the stage names Violent J, 2 Dope, and John Kickjazz, under the name of their gang, Inner City Posse.
Seeing a need for a manager, Bruce’s brother Robert recommended his friend and record store owner Alex Abbiss, who established the Psychopathic Records record label with the group in 1991. Later that year the group released the self-produced EP entitled Dog Beats.
After the change in musical style, the group decided it needed a new name. Utsler suggested keeping the “I.C.P.” initials to inform the community that Inner City Posse was not defunct.
Several names were considered before Bruce recalled his dream of a clown running around in Delray, which became the inspiration for the group’s new name: Insane Clown Posse.
The group decided they would all don face paint due to the success of their former clown-painted hype man. Upon returning home that night, Bruce says he had a dream in which “spirits in a traveling carnivalappeared to him” – an image that would become the basis for the Dark Carnival mythology detailed in the group’s Joker’s Cards series.
But one question still remain: Why have the FBI suddenly and collectively developed this rather severe case of coulrophobic disorder?
My guess is it has something to do with the Anonymous…
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