Crime

Musician Arrested After Being Mistaken For A Criminal

| by Shani Shahmoon

In the early morning hours of March 21, Wyclef Jean was falsely detained by officers in West Hollywood for suspected armed robbery.

An innocent civilian was reportedly held at gunpoint at a West Hollywood gas station at around 1 a.m. on March 21 until he released his wallet, New York Daily News Reports. The robber was then described to local police as a black man in a dark hoodie with a red bandana driving a gold or tan Toyota.

Police quickly stopped a similar-looking car and suspect shortly after. The passenger of that car, who was put in handcuffs, happened to be hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean.

Jean had reportedly been driving home from a long day at the studio with songwriter Diane Warren when he was pulled over by police and rapidly put in handcuffs. Friend and fellow hip-hop artist T-Baby witnessed the abrupt arrest and recorded the experience on a cell phone camera.

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Upon his release, Jean posted the videos on Twitter and explained his experience, which is not too far off from the police reports, the Daily Mail reports.

T-Baby was driving the car when the police pulled her over. The two were asked to get out of the car with their hands up.

"I was instantly hand cuffed before being asked to identify myself," wrote Jean. "Nor was I told why I was being cuffed," he added.

Shortly after, the Haitian musician was taken in for questioning.

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It was then confirmed by the victim that there was no female in the robber's getaway car, therefore eliminating Jean as a suspect. Meanwhile, the actual perpetrator was found and arrested a couple blocks away, The New York Times reports.

"This story is sad and redundant. When did guns and handcuffs become a [prerequisite] of questioning?" T-Baby said in an interview.

Last year, police brutality took the spotlight after a number of recorded incidences were publicized that captured aggressive actions taken police officers. These stories caught a huge wave, sparking a growth in the Black Lives Matter Movement and bringing attention to an issue that became a large aspect of the most recent presidential election.

Throughout his experience, Jean was clear on his intentions to sue the LAPD for the behavior of its field officers.

Hours after the incident, at around 8 a.m., LAPD responded to the artist's tweets.

"This morning [Jean] erroneously tweeted that he had been detained by the #LAPD. We can confirm that we WERE NOT involved in that incident," they wrote.

It has since been confirmed that LAPD was not involved, but rather the officers were deputies of the sheriff's department.

In a phone interview with The New York Times, Sergeant Duncan of the sheriff's department claimed that the entire incident, from the moment the car was pulled over to when Jean was released, lasted six minutes.

Since his release, Jean has not filed a claim against the sheriff's department.

Sources: The New York Times, Daily Mail, New York Daily News, Twitter (2, 34)  / Photo credit: OPA Music

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