Juggalos descend on D.C. to fight FBI gang distinction as pro-Trump activists rally

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Followers of the hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse — known as Juggalos — held a march Saturday on the National Mall, alleging discrimination after the FBI labeled the group a gang in a 2011 report.

“We’re different. We’re not dangerous,” Kevin Gill, who is an announcer for a Juggalo wrestling league, said from the rally stage. “Music is not a crime.”

The band, consisting of the duo Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, said the gang accusation “has resulted in hundreds if not thousands of people subjected to various forms of discrimination, harassment, and profiling simply for identifying as a Juggalo.” In a video on the their website, the hip-hop artists claim their fans have lost jobs, custody of their children and been denied access to the military for their Juggalo affiliation.

Alesia Modglin, a pizza delivery worker from southwest Missouri, said she felt compelled to drive to D.C. to protest the FBI’s classification. She said the group draws in young people who grew up in troubled homes.

“It’s a family … Everybody loves each other,” said Modglin, who came to the nation’s capital with her husband, two toddlers, and several other family members. She said some of the band’s songs are “demonic, but there are hidden messages of a peaceful place.”

Best of all, she said, there’s “no judgment.”

Juggalos are known for displaying the band’s symbol, a man running with a hatchet, and the signature white-and-black face paint. The FBI placed Juggalos on the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment following reports of crimes committed by people with Juggalo tattoos and clothing. Federal officials estimate there are more than one million Juggalos in the U.S.

Fonz Tobin, a 25-year-old from Albuquerque, N.M., said the FBI’s classification was ridiculous.

“We’re painting our faces and clowning around,” said Tobin, who joined the Juggalo when he was 13.

“I had no place to live. I had no food in my stomach,” he said. “The people who took me in were the Juggalo … They pulled me into their family.”

He said he works at Target and is trying to do film production on the side. “Am I out there dealing drugs? Am I out there shooting people up?” he said. “No. I have a job.”

Earlier Saturday in a separate gathering, hundreds of pro-Trump activists rallied on the National Mall in what they said was a show of American patriotism and celebration.

“We’re here to support our president and this country,” said Sue Babinec, who traveled to Washington from Cincinnati for what organizers dubbed the “Mother of All Rallies.”

U.S. Park Police braced for a crowd of as many as 3,000 people. As the event opened, there were perhaps only 1,000 people gathered just north of the Washington Monument.

If the crowd lacked the projected strength, they made up for it in show, with many participants decked out in pro-Trump garb and carrying American flags.

“As soon as they announced it, I knew I had to be here,” said Dana Robinson, of Pittsburgh, as she weaved her way through the crowd in patchwork dress of Trump photos.

Trump is “one of us she said,” Robinson said. “He’s an every man’s president … He’s doing great with no help from any of the Republicans.”

A handful of Republican candidates also made their way to the stage, rallying the crowd with their Trump-style political pitches. “Everywhere you turn there are stumbling blocks to success,” said Bruce Nathan, a GOP candidate for governor of Florida, “put there by the federal government.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Murguia, 52, from the Washington suburbs, arrived with a sign that said “Mexico will pay for impeachment hearings.” Murguia said he came to the rally to “remind these people that their president, my president, is a liar.”

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  • Simultaneous rallies downtown. The pro-Trump Mother1 of 26
  • A fan of Insane Clown Posse who goes by the name Pumpkin2 of 26
  • Tim Schlarmann from Apple Valley, CA stands for his3 of 26
  • A large crowd gathers at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial4 of 26
  • Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse cheer and dance5 of 26
  • Jennifer Harmon, from Denver CO holds a sign saying6 of 26
  • Kevin Gill address the crowd during the Juggalos March7 of 26
  • Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse gather near the8 of 26
  • Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse cheer and dance9 of 26
  • Andy Parton came from Manchester, UK to join to join10 of 26
  • Logan Coyote, from Clinton, VA paints the face of Alexandra11 of 26
  • Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse cheer and dance12 of 26
  • Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse cheer and dance13 of 26
  • Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse cheer and dance14 of 26
  • A few hundred of pro-Trump supporters gather on the15 of 26
  • Keith, from Saint Louis, MO  takes part in the Mother16 of 26
  • Norman and Melody Ross from Deltona, FL  takes part17 of 26
  • A few hundred of pro-Trump supporters gather on the18 of 26
  • Rob and Cody Cortis from Livonia, MI  takes part in19 of 26
  • Genie Krump from Pensacola, FL  takes part in the Mother20 of 26
  • A few hundred of pro-Trump supporters gather on the21 of 26
  • Tahney Gonzales, Phoenix, AZ holds up a flag of President22 of 26
  • Unidentified militia members create a human chain around23 of 26
  • A few hundred of pro-Trump supporters gather on the24 of 26
  • Pro-Trump supporters gather on the National Mall in25 of 26
  • Pro-Trump supporters gather on the National Mall in26 of 26

This is why the Juggalos are marching on Washington

Contributing: Sean Rossman

 

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