WEST HOLLYWOOD—Rapper Wyclef Jean, a former member of the The Fugees, was detained for a short duration in West Hollywood on Tuesday, March 21 by sheriff deputies, who were searching for two robbery suspects.
A robbery was reported at a gas station at Sunset and San Vicente Boulevard at 1 a.m. on March 21 and witnesses said two suspects fled the scene in a gold or tan-colored Toyota, according to reports. One of the suspects was wearing a red bandanna.
After half an hour, authorities mistook the Grammy Award winning singer and detained him as he was also wearing a red bandanna and was driving a vehicle similar to the suspects’ vehicle. Jean had been working in a studio in North Hollywood with fellow musician T-baby until 1 a.m. The woman driving the vehicle was identified as his manager.
Authorities later determined that the gas station had not been robbed and that two pedestrians were pistol-whipped and robbed by suspects near the gas station. Jean was detained at the scene for about six minutes, according to Sgt. C. Duncan of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Jean was released after authorities had determined he was not the suspect. The actual suspect was arrested about four blocks away at Kings Road and Santa Monica Boulevard, while Jean was detained.
After he was released, Jean was given a business card and directed to the sheriff’s station to speak to officials about the incident.
Jean, a native of Haiti, was a member of the hip hop band, the Fugees. He launched his solo career in 1997 and has won three Grammy awards over the years. In August 2010, he filed for candidacy in the 2010 Haitian presidential election. He was ruled ineligible for office because he had not met the requirement to have been a Haitian resident for five years.
Jean, 47, later put up a string of tweets sharing his thoughts about the incident.
“As some one who has law enforcers in my family, I was appalled by this behavior of the LAPD. I am sure no father wants his sons or daughters to see him in Handcuffs especially if he is innocent,” tweeted Jean.
“Nor was I told why I was being cuffed. In the process I said my name and told them they have the wrong person. I was asked by the police to Put my hand up. Then I was told do not move. I was instantly hand cuffed before being asked to identify myself,” Jean also tweeted.
The Los Angeles Police Department responded with on Tuesday morning with a tweet clarifying they had no involvement in the arrest of the musician. “This morning @wyclef erroneously tweeted that he had been detained by the #LAPD. We can confirm that we WERE NOT involved in that incident.”
Written By Arjun Balasundaram and Joanne Yi