And there are those who like to claim that violence and vulgarity in icps music doesn’t influence young people in a negative way. It’s just “artistic expression.”
They could have at least chosen a band that has a more sinister name, as opposed to the likes of “Clown Posse.”
STOCKTON – You’ve heard of the Bloods and Crips, Norteños and Sureños – reviled criminal street gangs known for violent turf wars, graffiti and drugs sales.
But the Juggalos?
While there is no universal agreement, law enforcement officials across the country have begun to tag them as an emerging gang.
Now, the Juggalos, who style themselves after a Detroit-based rap-rock group, are up to no good in Stockton, according to a local prosecutor. He believes one man’s status in the gang played a role in an attempted hatchet murder.
San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Mark Ott – on top of the attempted murder count – has charged Chad Campbell, 21, with a street terrorism for his ties to the alleged gang.
Ott, who offers few details of the case, said that Monday, he will lay out evidence in court and let a judge decide if Campbell goes on to a jury trial.
Ott believes Campbell would be the first Juggalo to be tried in San Joaquin County.
“We believe we have the facts to prove it,” Ott said.
Juggalos – or Juggalettes for women – are devotees of a rock-rap group based in Detroit called Insane Clown Posse. The music group indulges in raw lyrics replete with irreverent profanity and violence.
The group’s fans – mostly white – wear heavy face paint to resemble sinister clowns. The consider themselves a family. The Juggalos’ uniting symbol is a hatchet man, the insignia of the rap group’s recording label, Psychopathic Records.
Representatives of Psychopathic Records and Insane Clown Posse did not respond to requests for comment.
Police in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Utah have arrested people on gang charges for committing crimes on behalf of the Juggalos. A Modesto judge last year ordered four people to stand trial following a violent attack linked to the so-called gang at Graceada Park.
Campbell was arrested Nov. 8 in Stockton after police said he attacked a man near El Dorado and California streets with a hatchet. The 21-year-old victim was taken to a hospital with serious injuries to his head.
The man survived the attack, but prosecutors also charged Campbell with mayhem for permanently disabling the victim, said Ott. The prosecutor said he believes the law is on his side, especially when it comes to the gang charge.
Ott wouldn’t say if Campbell was dressed in Juggalo clothing, has tattoos or wore a painted face during the alleged attack. He prefers to present his evidence in court.
But Ott explained that a criminal street gang by definition is an ongoing association of three or more people with a common sign who actively engage in criminal behavior.
“We have that pattern,” Ott said. “We’re going to put that on in the preliminary hearing.”
Contacted at the San Joaquin County Jail, Campbell declined a request for an interview. His attorney, San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Michael Moore, did not return repeated calls.
Outside observers say they’ll wait to hear more evidence before buying into a Juggalo gang label.
Ultimately, a jury will decide the case after hearing all of the evidence, said Frank Scafiti, a former FBI agent based in Sacramento who now works for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
From what he knows, Scafidi said he’s not totally convinced the gang charges fit.
By analogy, he said it is like trying to hang a bank robbery on the president because somebody wearing a face mask in his likeness perpetrated the crime. Author Tom Clancy in the 1990s wrote a spy novel describing a scenario similar to the 9/11 attacks.
“Is Tom Clancy now somewhat responsible for the events of 9/11?” Scafidi said. “Of course not.”
Matthew Donahue, a pop culture professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said there are thousands of Juggalos across the country who emulate the Insane Clown Posse, wearing face paint to their concerts.
Naturally, a few are going to end up in trouble, but Donahue said that doesn’t mean the entire fan-base is part of a criminal structure. Besides, he finds it hard to believe the Insane Clown Posse would condone the criminal activity.
“My guess is not,” Donahue said. “That will be detrimental to their career.”
Said Paul Mohler of the Texas Attorney General’s Office in an online presentation warning officers of potential Juggalo violence: “All Juggalos aren’t gangsters, but some gangsters are Juggalos.”
Contact reporter Scott Smith at (209) 546-8296 or email@example.com.