Wyclef Jean Speaks Out After Being Handcuffed in Case Of Mistake Identity: 'I Was Scared For My Life'
He said he felt the incident was racial injustice.
Grammy Award-winning singer Wyclef Jean is speaking out about being pulled over and handcuffed by L.A. sheriffs in a case of mistaken identity.
“The LAPD have me in cuffs for absolutely nothing,” the singer said in a video of the incident that he shared to Twitter on Tuesday. “Y'all see the police have handcuffs on me! They just took off my Haitian bandana. That's what's doing on with Wyclef in LA right now."
The 47-year-old star was reportedly pulled over by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in response to a call of a gas station robbery, in which the suspects had pistol-whipped two pedestrians, stole their belongings, and then got away in a car reportedly similar to the one Jean was riding in.
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/vjRfJUkooAMarch 21, 2017
Jean, who described the moment as racial injustice, appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday to talk about the incident.
“I have family on both sides of the lens but I got a chance to see what happens with a citizen versus a police firsthand," he said. "And I have to tell you, I was scared for my life to the point where I could have acted different. And if I acted different, something else would have happened to me."
Wyclef, who was pulled over around 1:30 a.m., also tweeted that he was treated like a criminal.
They proceeded to ignore me and I was treated like a criminal until other police showed up and pointed out they had wrong person.March 21, 2017
"I'm alive to tell my story,” he said.
The singer, who is best known for being a part of the 90s group "The Fugees,” said he wants police to conduct a formal investigation of profiling in the state.
"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,” his representative said in the statement.
Police said Jean was handcuffed due to the violent nature of the crime they initially suspected he was involved in.
“After the victims, who had feared for their lives, gave the suspects their identification and money, authorities spotted the car Jean was in a short distance from the crime scene," the sheriff's department said. "Deputies followed that vehicle briefly before the vehicle pulled over. As deputies approached the vehicle, the occupants - driver and front passenger, almost simultaneously began to exit the vehicle. It was at this time that the deputies attempted to detain who they believed to be the suspect of the violent crime, Mr. Jean."
Jean was reportedly detained for six minutes before being released.
Police said the actual suspects were apprehended four blocks away.
"I feel that I was targeted as a black man," he said in the interview. "It's clear and it was obvious because when I was getting out of the car and the way that the cops rushed me, the conversation that I was having with them, it was a silent and a deaf conversation. So, as a citizen, I feel that it's only right that if I'm telling you my name and who I am, it only takes a second with the technology that we have to basically press a button and Google say, 'This is Wyclef Jean.'"
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