Rapper Wyclef Jean calls for investigation into racial profiling

The Grammy winner speaks exclusively to "GMA" about what happened when he was handcuffed by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and mistaken for a criminal on the loose.
10:30 | 03/22/17

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Transcript for Rapper Wyclef Jean calls for investigation into racial profiling
That incident that caught so many people's attention with wyclef Jean. He was caught on camera handcuffed by the L.A. Sheriff's department mistaken for a criminal on the loose. He is now calling for an investigation into racial profiling. We're going to speak exclusively with wyclef in a moment but first ABC's kayna Whitworth has those details for us. ??? Lifestyles of the rich and famous ??? Reporter: Monday night grammy winner wyclef Jean claiming he was a victim of racial injustice hand cuffed and detained by the Los Angeles county sheriff's department. 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. Reporter: Deputies responding to what they're describing as a violent crime. Pedestrians saying they were pistol whipped in west Hollywood. Jean was found nearby in a dark hoodie and bandanna matching the suspect's outfit. Riding in a vehicle fitting the suspect's car. The rapper was then handcuffed and detained for six minutes. Writing, I was treated like a criminal. I'm sure no father wants his sons or daughters to see him in handcuffs especially if he is innocent. Authorities telling ABC news as they approached the vehicle the driver and passenger almost simultaneously began to exit the vehicle. Approaching the trunk even though they say they told them not to. As soon as we found out he was not the suspect he was not the person we were looking for he was released. Reporter: The sheriff's department apprehending the actual suspects later found just four blocks away. This 26-year-old male and 30-year-old female both now being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Jean's spokesperson says he was spubt to police brutality, racial profiling and police bias. For "Good morning America," kayna Whitworth, ABC news, los Angeles. Our thanks to kayna, wyclef is here with us. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your story. Tell us what happened. First of all I just want to thank everybody, you know, all of the kids out there and for me this is bigger than a black and white issue, so let's start off by the sheriff's report. What this sheriff report says there is a car which is tailored 200 with a paper license plate. So, that's what the suspect -- that's what the people saw. My car was stopped and it had no paper plate license plate. That's the first one. After I got out the car, automatically the minute I got -- I have my backpack on, I'm coming from the recording studio. I'm automatically rushed. When I'm rushed guns are drawn which is the part that you don't see. After the guns are drawn I'm pulled over. The minute this happens, I say, you know, I'm going to sue the LAPD because I don't know what's going on. I'm in shock and awe. I'm not even -- no one says this is the sheriff's department and I fully understand that and goes a step further. My name is wyclef Jean then I'm taken and put in handcuffs in the back and I'm explaining. They said do you have an I.D. I said my hotel is right here basically you stopped me in front of my hotel. I can go in. Absolutely nothing, no form of conversation. No communication with you and why you were being stopped. No communication, yes. I understand still because I have family in law enforcement so I'm still with you. So, so then I'm taking inside of the police car so now I'm detained in the back of the car with handcuffs 100%. Now, the video that you saw, I told people basically start rolling and at the same time there was other people rolling. The point that I want to make and the racial profile point is that basically I feel that I was targeted as a black man. It's clear and it was obvious because when I was getting out of the car and the way that the cops rushed me, the conversation that I was having with them, it was a silent and a deaf conversation so as a citizen, I feel that it's only right that if I'm telling you my name and who I am, it only takes a second with the technology that we have to basically press a button and Google and say, you know this, is wyclef Jean. So, I stepped up in the sense of at the end of the day I have family on both sides of the lens, but I got a chance to see what happens with a citizen versus a police firsthand and I have to tell you I was scared for my life to the point where I could have acted different and if I acted different, something else would have happened. We have seen that in the past and I know you were saying about the license plate, but the car itself was similar to what they were looking for. Yes. Two passengers, those things were similar. Did you do anything? Do you do your actions in any way cause for the police for concern to think you could possibly be that that suspect? Did you go -- they said they told you not to go to the trunk. Did you do that. It would be impossible for wyclef Jean for the cops to tell me not to go to the trunk for me to go to the trunk. But once again, it shows you like the judicial power of one person versus another. So basically I'm alive to tell my story, right. And my story is not a citizen versus police or police versus a citizen. It's the ide of how can citizens trust police, so in order for citizens to trust the police, yes, we must apply the law but in applying the law we have to find judicial which is fair for the citizen so if I'm telling you my name and I'm saying to you that I am not that person, once you put me in cuffs what do you think happens when my daughter sees me in cuffs and I tell her when the police stop you, this is how you have to act. You have to be civil. You cannot curse and she sees her dad doing all of this on television and at the -- You were civil the whole time. That's right. I was civil the whole time. You sea me. I was very civil in the conversation. Let me -- we have a legal analyst, Dan Abrams and I want to bring him in and ask a question. Dan, the police, they say they were just following due process. Yeah, I mean, look, the facts become critical here but let's be clear on something. Wyclef has every right to be upset. Every right to be outraged. He was pulled over wrongly for something that had nothing to do with him. But now let's evaluate it through the police prism, right. You have a gold car that they're looking for. An older gold car with a female driver and a passenger, male, wearing some sort of bandanna, the actual suspects are captured four blocks away. Does that mean that they got it right? No. But does that mean that what they did was improper? Also no. I think one of the critical factors and I'd like to know from wyclef when he was pulled over in those six minutes, did they tell him why? What they were investigating? Because I think that's crucial in terms of police procedure. You heard did they tell you why. Yeah, definitely, so, the number one -- What did they say. The number one thing is when I was pulled over, and when I got out the car I was not told why, so if I'm not told why and guns are drawn on me, how am I supposed to react? That's one. Number two is also when I'm handcuffed now I tell the officer my name, absolutely no reactions. Then I'm put inside of the car, not until I'm put inside of the car and I'm in cuffs six minutes I'm told, okay, there an investigation and -- That's when they told you. Can you imagine like what could have happened within that six minutes if you roll up on me and I don't know what's going on so at the end of the day I do believe in law enforcement doing their jobs. This is not a conversation about wyclef versus the police at all but it's a conversation about treating citizens rightly, so was the police doing their job, yes, the police was doing their job but the part of the job that they did not do right is the idea of me being a citizen and the idea of putting me in cuffs. Yes, I don't only have the right to be upset, I have the right to basically challenge the judicial system as a citizen. Yeah, and you answered Dan's question and, Dan, also you realize there was a broader issue here. Yep, there's no question. This is part of a broader discussion that needs to continue to be had in this country. But I think that as we have that discussion, let's talk about the lines, right? Let's not just say because someone is pulled over and it was a mistake as it turns out therefore police did wrong or did bad. Let's talk about exactly what happened. Let's talk about the procedures exactly as we are having right now which is exactly, for example, the police are saying that there were certain actions that he took that made them uncomfortable. Police do put people in cuffs sometimes very much temporarily as they try and sort something out. That's not necessarily bad procedure. That's not necessarily wrong. And furthermore, I'd say imagine someone being pulled over and saying I'm wyclef Jean, that could be considered a joke by some people, you got to verify it. You got to be able to confirm it. And to Dan's point, definitely I verified that who I was and the other point of what's going on that I want Dan to understand is at the end of the day, I'm not saying that the police were wrong. The part of the issue and the long conversation that we have to have, how do we establish real relationships with the police and the citizen so wyclef is alive so as a person is alive I got out of the car, Dan and I'm telling you I did nothing wrong, I kept my backpacks, my hands were down. I never went in the trunk so whoever tampered with that information and said wyclef was in the trunk, I mean this is L.A. There's cameras so the sheriff's department have to also be very careful about the information they're saying. There is going to be a formal investigation. Thank you for having this very important discussion. Thank you. We'll be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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