Wyclef Jean fit the description of an armed robber, and the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. says they did nothing wrong when the artist was cuffed and put in the back of a patrol car.
The Sheriff's Dept. just explained why they took the action they did, starting with the fact that they had an armed robber on the loose who was a passenger in an old gold or tan Toyota or Honda sedan. The suspect was black and was wearing a red or grey bandana around his neck.
The Dept. goes on to say they spotted Wyclef a few blocks from the crime scene in the passenger seat of a tan Toyota. He was wearing a red and blue bandana.
After the car was stopped, Wyclef and another occupant immediately hopped out of the car. Deputies say Wyclef started to walk toward the trunk of the car to get his things, despite deputies telling him not to approach the trunk. The Sheriff adds he was ordered several times not to place his hands near his waistband or pockets, but he did anyway.
Whose side you on?
Something Went Wrong
The Sheriff concludes, "Due to the violent nature of the call (armed robbery) the similarity of the suspect vehicle to Mr. Jean's vehicle ... and Mr. Jean's furtive movements and demeanor, he was handcuffed." The Sheriff explains he was placed in the backseat of a patrol car for security reasons.
The Sheriff says it was a "lawful detention" and "reasonable" as well. And, 6 minutes after being cuffed, when deputies determined Wyclef wasn't the culprit, he was released.
The Sheriff does say, they are "apologetic for any inconvenience this process caused Mr. Jean."
By the way, the actual robber was caught a short time later.
1:55 PM PT -- Wyclef Jean has just issued a statement:
“I was asked by the police to put my hands up. Then I was told, ‘Do not move.’ I was instantly hand cuffed before being asked to identify myself and before being told why. In the process I said my name and told them they have wrong person. They proceeded to ignore me and I was treated like a criminal. I am sure no father wants his sons or daughters to see him in Handcuffs especially if he is innocent. As someone who has law enforcers in my family, I was appalled by the behavior of the LAPD.”
Wyclef's spokesperson, Melanie Bonvicino, says her client was "subject to police brutality, racial profiling, police bias and the ongoing discriminatory practices of law enforcement ..." She says he's demanding a full investigation.