Wyclef Jean, the hip-hop artist, said he was handcuffed and briefly detained by deputies in Los Angeles on Tuesday after they mistook him for a suspect in a robbery near the studio where he had been working.
In a short video message on Twitter early in the morning, the musician was shown standing in the dark against a patrol car with his hands behind his back. It was unclear who was shooting video.
LAPD another case of mistaken identity. Black man with red bandana robbed a gas station as I was in the studio working but im in handcuffs? pic.twitter.com/vjRfJUkooA— Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) March 21, 2017
“LA, right now, coming from the studio,” Jean said. “Y’all see the police have handcuffs on me. They just took off my Haitian bandanna. That’s what’s going on right now with Wyclef in LA right now. The LAPD have me in cuffs for absolutely nothing.”
An official at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Jean’s case was being handled by its West Hollywood station. Sgt. D. Walker, an officer on duty there, said in a brief telephone conversation: “I know that he was detained” but he gave no further details.
CBS News in Los Angeles reported that the authorities stopped Jean around 1 a.m. Pacific time at a gas station on Sunset Boulevard as they were investigating a report that a suspect had robbed a person at gunpoint nearby and stolen a wallet.
The victim provided a description of the suspect’s vehicle, which the deputies said matched the vehicle Jean was in. Deputies eventually arrested the correct suspect and recovered the stolen wallet, CBS reported, and the gun used in the crime was also found.
Jean’s first tweet was posted at 4 a.m. Eastern time, and was followed by a series of them describing what happened.
In his most recent one, around 9 a.m. ET, he said, “I was asked by the police to put my hands up. Then I was told do not move. I was instantly handcuffed before being asked to identify myself.”
A native of Haiti who grew up in New Jersey, he sold millions of albums in the 1990s as a member of the Fugees, the Grammy-winning hip-hop and R&B group that included Lauryn Hill and Jean’s cousin, Prakazrel Michel, known as Pras. As the Fugees dissolved, Jean began a prolific solo career, and he has also worked as a producer.