Melanie A. Bonvicino, a spokesman for Jean, told The Washington Post that Jean claims he was “thrown up against” a vehicle and maintains that he was the victim of racial profiling.
She said Jean is calling for “a formal investigation into racial profiling by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD chief Charlie Beck and the LA Sheriff’s Department” and requesting that the American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter “join him in defense of civil liberties and racial bias.”
In his posts Tuesday on social media, Jean mistakenly identified the Los Angeles Police Department as the agency detaining him instead of the sheriff’s department.
Tuesday morning, LAPD corrected the record on social media.
“I was asked by the police to Put my hands up,” Jean wrote on Instagram. “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,” he continued. “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 artist added that, “As some one who has law enforcers in my family, I was appalled by this behavior of the LAPD.”
Deputy Jeff Gordon, a public information officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told The Post that Jean was pulled over in West Hollywood about 15 minutes after authorities received a call reporting a robbery about 12:50 a.m. Tuesday near the Hustler Hollywood store on Sunset Boulevard.
Gordon said the robber — who pulled a gun on two victims and told them to “give me everything you have” — was a black male wearing a red bandanna and a dark hoodie. The victims told police the man fled in a vehicle that was similar to the one Jean was driving when he was stopped by deputies, asked to exit the car and placed in handcuffs, Gordon said.
“They stopped him thinking he was the person involved in the robbery,” Gordon said, referring to Jean and noting that he was also wearing a bandanna that was partially colored red. “I think the detention itself was six minutes.”
“This was a case of mistaken identity,” he added. “He fit the description. It wasn’t profiling in nature — it was a mistake.”
A 26-year-old, who authorities say they believe is the real suspect, was later arrested, Gordon said.
Jean recounted the incident on Twitter and noted that no father wants his children to see him in handcuffs, “especially if he is innocent.”
Jean was born in Haiti but raised in New Jersey, and has been a fixture in hip-hop and R&B since the mid-1990s, when he was a member of the Grammy Award-winning Fugees alongside Lauryn Hill and his cousin, Prakazrel Michel. Jean later embarked on a solo career and used his global celebrity to raise awareness about humanitarian challenges in Haiti.
Jean ran for president of Haiti in 2010, but was ultimately disqualified. In the wake of the 2010 earthquake, Jean’s charity, Yele Haiti, was beset by questions about how the organization had spent millions of dollars in donations.