Wyclef Jean, the hip-hop artist, said he was handcuffed and briefly detained by deputies in Los Angeles on Tuesday after they mistook him for a suspect in a robbery near the studio where he had been working.
In a short video message on Twitter early in the morning, the musician was shown standing in the dark next to a patrol car with his hands behind his back. It was unclear who was shooting video.
“L.A., right now, coming from the studio,” Mr. Jean said. “Y’all see the police have handcuffs on me. They just took off my Haitian bandanna. 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.”
Sgt. C. Duncan, an officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in West Hollywood, confirmed that Mr. Jean had been briefly detained. The episode started just after 1 a.m. Pacific time, when deputies were investigating a report that a man and a woman had been robbed at gunpoint and beaten at a Sunset Boulevard intersection.
Sgt. Duncan said in a telephone interview that the suspect was described as a black man with a dark hoodie who fled in a gold or tan Toyota. At about 1:25 a.m., deputies pulled over a vehicle matching that description driven by a woman with a male passenger. When the man, who later turned out to be Mr. Jean, was seen wearing a red bandana, the victims, contacted by radio, said that the suspect had also been wearing one, Sgt. Duncan said.
Mr. Jean and the woman were told to get out of the car, and Mr. Jean was handcuffed and detained, Sgt. Duncan said. They were released when the victims said there was no female in the getaway car, and the three deputies and the sergeant at the location with Mr. Jean were also informed that the real suspect had been arrested elsewhere.
Sgt. Duncan said the entire episode — from when Mr. Jean was pulled over until he was allowed to leave — lasted six minutes. Mr. Jean was given a business card and told that he could go to the sheriff’s station and speak to officials there about what had happened.
Mr. Jean’s first tweet was posted at 4 a.m. Eastern, and was followed by a series of them describing what happened.
Around 9 a.m., he summed up, “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.”
Asked to respond to Mr. Jean’s remarks that he had identified himself, Sgt. Duncan said: “Just because someone tells me their name I have to verify it thorugh legal means.”
The woman in the vehicle with Mr. Jean identified herself as Mr. Jean’s manager, he said.
Mr. Jean’s descriptions about what happened to him were circulated on Twitter, with some remarking that it was an example of how quickly black men are treated as suspects in their encounters with law enforcement officers.
A native of Haiti who grew up in New Jersey, Mr. Jean sold millions of albums in the 1990s as a member of the Fugees, the Grammy-winning hip-hop and R&B group that included Lauryn Hill and Mr. Jean’s cousin, Prakazrel Michel, known as Pras. As the Fugees dissolved, Mr. Jean began a prolific solo career, and he has also worked as a producer. Mr. Jean, 47, has also had a high profile outside of the music industry. He made an aborted bid for the presidency of Haiti after the earthquake there in 2010.
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