Deputies cuff rapper Wyclef Jean after mistaking him for a robbery suspect

Posted at 9:20 PM, Mar 21, 2017

Rapper Wyclef Jean is calling for an investigation into what he calls racial profiling after sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles handcuffed him, mistaking him for a robbery suspect.

Jean said he was returning from a recording studio when he was pulled over early Tuesday.

He said he was not told why he was being cuffed and that he told police they had the wrong person.

“They proceeded to ignore me and I was treated like a criminal until other police showed up and pointed out they had wrong person,” Jean tweeted.

The incident

Sheriff’s Sgt. Charles Duncan said patrol units pulled over a vehicle matching the description of a suspect vehicle. They said they were looking for an assailant who robbed and pistol-whipped two people in West Hollywood.

Duncan said the victims of the crime said the assailant was wearing a red bandana. Jean had on a red bandana.

The department said Jean did not follow instructions from deputies during the questioning.

“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?” Jean tweeted. It was one of several he posted after the incident.

(In them, he mistakenly refers to the deputies as Los Angeles Police Department officers, prompting the LAPD to issue its own tweet correcting the narrative.)

The sheriff’s department said a supervisor was on the scene at the time Jean was detained, and “explained to Mr. Jean about the investigation being conducted and the reasons behind his lawful detention.”

The narrative

In his tweets, Jean said he 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.”

Duncan said once the deputies received more information, they realized they had the wrong person and Jean was released.

The singer was detained for about six minutes, according to the sheriff’s office.

Jean went on to tweet twice more about the incident, saying, “I am sure no father wants his sons or daughters to see him in handcuffs especially if he is innocent.”

The sheriff’s office arrested two suspects in the robbery four blocks from where Jean was stopped.

A spokeswoman for the singer later released a statement, calling for an investigation.

“Mr. Jean is requesting a formal investigation into racial profiling by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD chief Charlie Beck and the LA Sheriff’s Department while calling upon the ACLU and Black Lives Matter to join him in defense of civil liberties and racial bias,” said Melanie Bonvicino.

When asked for comment, the sheriff’s department said it had not been contacted by Jean. The mayor’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.