Two men Fresno police say are members of the Juggalo street gang face felony firearms charges in separate cases.
The Juggalos are fans of the music group Insane Clown Posse and sometimes wear face paint and clothing with an emblem of a running man carrying a hatchet. In 2011, the FBI designated them a “loosely organized hybrid gang” that commits assaults and vandalism. That prompted the Insane Clown Posse members Joseph Bruce (Violent J) and Joseph Utsler (Shaggy 2 Dope) to file a lawsuit against the FBI, according to Law Enforcement Today. A judge dismissed the suit in 2014.
Fresno police Lt. Burke Farrah of the Street Violence Section said Juggalos are not major players among local gangs. The gun charges the two men face arose out of “interpersonal disputes,” he said.
Police say Daniel Casanova, 30, was arrested on suspicion of cutting a man across the face in August and then firing a handgun at a relative of the victim who was chasing him. Casanova was arrested last month and is charged with assault with a firearm.
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Joseph Thomas, 26, is accused of a shooting Nov. 1 near a market at Fruit and Dakota avenues following a dispute with another gang member. He was arrested the following day on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Farrah said Juggalo gang members have kept a low profile for the past several years. At one time, members would gather at Cary Park near Fashion Fair mall. Juggalos also would sometimes be seen at Eaton Plaza in downtown Fresno. They no longer have a defined area in the city.
The Juggalos were designated by police as a street gang in the mid-2000s. To fit the legal definition of a gang, a group must have at least three members who use a common name, sign or symbol and commit crimes. For an individual to be designated a gang member, there are additional criteria, including tattoos, and how he or she self-identifies when booked in Fresno County Jail.