Wyclef Jean Handcuffed in Search for Armed Robbery Suspect: ‘Another Case of Mistaken Identity’

Wyclef Jean
Wyclef Jean attends the 42nd Annual American Music Awards in 2014. C Flanigan/Getty Images

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Police Department denied involvement in the incident on Tuesday, March 21. “This morning @wyclef erroneously tweeted that he had been detained by the #LAPD. We can confirm that we WERE NOT involved in that incident,” the tweet read. NBC News later clarified that Wyclef Jean was handcuffed by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies.

Original story below 

Wyclef Jean was handcuffed in Los Angeles after he was mistaken for an armed man who robbed a gas station, the rapper revealed on Twitter in the early hours of Tuesday, March 21.

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The “Sweetest Girl” singer, 47, posted a clip of himself with his arms behind his back next to a police car with two officers on either side of him. “Coming from the studio with T-Baby. Y’all see the police have handcuffs on me. They just took off my Haitian bandana,” he says in the video. “That’s what’s going on with Wyclef in L.A. right now. The LAPD have me in cuffs for absolutely nothing.”

Jean captioned the video, “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?”

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The Grammy winner later posted a series of tweets detailing the incident. “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,” he wrote. “Nor was I told why I was being cuffed. In the process I said my name and told them they have the wrong person. They proceeded to ignore me and I was treated like a criminal until other police showed up and pointed out they had wrong person.”

The “Ready or Not” musician, who shares daughter Angelina with his wife, Claudinette Jean, added that the incident was scarring for him as a parent. “I am sure no father wants his sons or daughters to see him in Handcuffs especially if he is innocent,” he tweeted. “As some one who has law enforcers in my family, I was appalled by this behavior of the LAPD.”

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In another longer video posted to Instagram, Jean vowed to “sue the LAPD” for putting him through the ordeal. “I’m a recording artist and I’m coming from the studio,” he told the law enforcement officers. “Just so y’all know, I am going to sue the LAPD. You took off my hat, you put cuffs on me.”


Authorities confirmed to NBC Los Angeles that Jean was detained by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies after an armed robbery at a gas station in West Hollywood around 1 a.m. PT. The suspect was described as an armed black male wearing a dark hoodie and red bandana in a gold or tan Toyota sedan, police told the outlet. Officers observed Jean’s vehicle, which fit the description, and the rapper was wearing a red bandana. He was placed in handcuffs and later released. 

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