Wyclef Jean gets apology from sheriff after detainment

Recording artist Wyclef Jean performs onstage at the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Nov. 23, 2014, in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department apologized Tuesday to hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean for handcuffing him during a search for an armed robbery suspect.

The former Fugees singer and rapper posted video of the incident, in which he was handcuffed outside his car early Monday morning, to Instagram, and on Tuesday Jean requested a formal investigation of his detainment.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department called deputies’ behavior “lawful.”

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Jean was detained for six minutes during this investigation, as he had no involvement whatsoever in this violent crime,” the department said. “However, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs are frequently required to make lawful detentions, under the strict parameters provided by law, in the interest of catching often dangerous and armed suspects in our communities and keeping the public safe. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is apologetic for any inconvenience this process caused Mr. Jean.”

Police were responding to a report of a person robbed of their wallet at gunpoint around 1 a.m. Tuesday at a gas station, when deputies noticed a vehicle belonging to Jean that they said matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle. In a statement sent to the media via his agent, Jean said the police were quick to detain him.

“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,” Jean said. “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 some one who has law enforcers in my family, I was appalled by the bahaivoir (sic) of the LAPD,” Jean said.  

In a video of the incident posted to Instagram, Jean can be heard saying he is a recording artist who was on his way to the studio.

“Can you give him the address to the studio?” Jean can be heard asking the person who filmed his detainment. “Just so y’all know, I am going to sue the LAPD.”

The singer also posted a series of tweets about the incident.  

Deputies later arrested Torrion Falconer, a 26-year-old man who was charged with several counts, including robbery, former convicted felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and having a loaded firearm concealed in a vehicle. Dejuan Hooper, a 30 year-old woman who the sheriff’s department said was driving the vehicle they had been looking for, was also arrested and charged with robbery and possession of a controlled substance.