by City News Service and Staff
Deputies investigating an armed robbery in West Hollywood today briefly questioned and handcuffed Grammy Award winning rapper Wyclef Jean, but released him after determining he was not one of the two suspects in the crime, who were arrested a short time afterward.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Jean was detained for six minutes during his investigation, as he had no involvement whatsoever in this violent crime,” a sheriff’s department statement 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 statement continued.” The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is apologetic for any inconvenience this process caused Mr. Jean. We are grateful we were able to apprehend the robbery suspects and that no one was seriously injured.”
Torrion Falconer of Lancaster, 26, was booked on suspicion of various crimes, including robbery and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. A woman allegedly driving the getaway car used in the crime — 30-year-
A woman allegedly driving the getaway car used in the crime — 30-year old Dejuan Hooper of Inglewood — was booked on suspicion of robbery and possession of a controlled substance. Each was held on $100,000 bail.
According to TMZ.com, Jean and two female passengers — one of them his manager — were pulled over because the rapper’s vehicle matched the description of a car used in an armed robbery around the same time in the same neighborhood, and he was wearing a red bandanna, which was part of the description of one of the suspects.
“As for how he ended up in handcuffs — we’re told one of the women got out of the vehicle abruptly, and while talking to deputies, Wyclef reached toward his waistband,” TMZ reported. “Deputies put on the cuffs for about six minutes while they sorted this out.”
One of the women shot video of Jean criticizing the Los Angeles Police Department, although he actually was detained by the sheriff’s department.
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? pic.twitter.com/vjRfJUkooA
— Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) March 21, 2017
“LAPD another case of mistaken identity,” Jean wrote on Twitter. “Black man with red bandana robbed a gas station as I was in the studio working but I’m in handcuffs?”
According to the sheriff’s department, the incident began about 12:45 a.m., when deputies went to the 8900 block of West Sunset Boulevard on a report of an armed robbery in a store parking lot.
The victims, a man and a woman, told deputies that they were standing in the lot when an armed man walked up to them, pistol-whipped them and robbed them, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez said. The gunman then got into an older-model gold or tan Toyota or Honda, driven by an accomplice, and it sped off. The victims called 911.
“During deputies’ search for the suspects, the vehicle Mr. Jean was traveling in as a front passenger, a 2002 tan Toyota with Michigan license plates, was observed traveling … a short distance from the crime scene,” Navarro-Suarez said.
“Deputies followed that vehicle briefly before the vehicle pulled over along the 700 block of West Knoll Drive, apparently reaching its intended destination,” Navarro-Suarez said.
“As deputies approached the vehicle, (two of) the occupants — driver and front passenger — almost simultaneously began to exit the vehicle,” Navarro-Suarez said. “It was at this time that the deputies attempted to detain who they believed to be the suspect of the violent crime, Mr. Jean. Due to the violent nature of the call, (an) armed robbery; the similarity of the suspect vehicle to Mr. Jean’s vehicle; the time of day of the unfolding detention; and Mr.
Jean’s furtive movements and demeanor, he was handcuffed. “It is reported that Mr. Jean’s furtive movements included actions such as: once he exited the vehicle, he started to walk towards the trunk of the car, questioning why he could not get his things out of his trunk, even though he was clearly instructed by deputies not to approach the trunk,” Navarro-Suarez said.
“Mr. Jean was also ordered several times not to place his hands near his pockets or his waistband. Out of an abundance of caution, a pat down search for weapons was also conducted of Mr. Jean’s person, and he was subsequently secured inside the backseat of a patrol vehicle.
“Within approximately six minutes, deputies confirmed that Mr. Jean and the female driver were not the suspects in the armed robbery. “Although the initial suspect description in the call given by the victims stated that the suspect wore a dark-colored hoodie, further description obtained from the victims during the investigation by deputies revealed that the suspect’s hoodie was possibly gray and that the suspect may also have a red or gray bandana draped around his neck. Mr. Jean wore a dark colored shirt
Mr. Jean wore a dark colored shirt and a red and blue bandana on his head. Upon the discovery and verification of this additional information, the reasonable detention of Mr. Jean immediately ended. “A supervisor, who was on the scene from the very beginning of Mr. Jean’sdetention, explained to Mr. Jean about the investigation being conducted and the reasons behind his lawful detention.
“The supervisor, a sergeant with the sheriff’s department for approximately 17 years, presented her department-issued business card to Mr. Jean and offered Mr. Jean the opportunity to discuss the matter further if he so desired. Mr. Jean accepted the business card.
“A short time later, another vehicle fitting the description of the suspect vehicle in the call was observed approximately four blocks from Mr. Jean’s detention. That vehicle, being driven by a female black adult and occupied by a male black adult front passenger wearing a dark gray hoodie was also stopped under similar context.
“That vehicle reportedly contained the suspects who are allegedly connected to the armed robbery.” Sheriff’s officials went on to say that deputies found a loaded firearm in the vehicle, a 1995 tan/gold Acura with paper plates, and the property stolen from both victims was also recovered.
“It should be noted that during the detention of these suspects … safety measures were also exercised, as the suspects were handcuffed and secured in the backseat of a patrol vehicle pending further investigation,” Navarro-Suarez said.