Early Tuesday morning, hip-hop/R&B artist Wyclef Jean was finishing up a day in the studio in Los Angeles when he was mistakenly handcuffed and detained by the LAPD after they confused him with a robbery suspect officers were looking for.
Wyclef documented a slice of the incident, which occurred around 5 a.m. EST, on Twitter, sharing a video in which he’s heard saying: “Y’all see the police have handcuffs on me. They just took off my Haitian bandana. That’s what’s going on right now with Wyclef in L.A. right now. The L.A.P.D. have me in cuffs for absolutely nothing.”
The incident was triggered by the aforementioned robbery of a man and woman at a Sunset Boulevard intersection. The vehicle that the perpetrator (who was said to be wearing a red bandana) fled in was a gold or tan Toyota, which matched the description of the car Wyclef was in with his female manager at the time.
However, there was no female perpetrator in the robbery case and the real suspect had been arrested at another location, which led police to eventually release Wyclef.
According to Wyclef, at no point during the process (which lasted six minutes) did officers tell him why he was being arrested. But he was told by police to keep his hands up despite the fact that he insisted several times that police had the wrong person.
Sgt. C. Duncan, an officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in West Hollywood, says that Wyclef was given a business card and informed that he could discuss the incident with the department.
As The N.Y. Times points out, many on social media are discussing the incident as “an example of how quickly black men are treated as suspects in their encounters with law enforcement officers.”
Paste recently caught up with Wyclef at SXSW—find his performance below.