Singer Wyclef Jean's controversial encounter with police

The Grammy-winning hip-hop artist was pulled over and handcuffed after being mistaken for a robbery suspect, and now Jean is using his experience to start a critical dialogue.
5:48 | 03/23/17

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Transcript for Singer Wyclef Jean's controversial encounter with police
We have an ABC news exclusive interview with the rapper wyclef Jean, who's talking about a heated encounter with law enforcement. He was stopped and cuffed for a crime he did not commit. He alleged police brutality, but was it? The LAPD have me in cuffs on absolutely nothing. I just turned around, I see all kind of guns drawn on me. So basically in the state of fear for my life -- It was a high-profile casive mistaken identity. Y'all see the police have handcuffs on me, they just took off my Haitian bandana, that's what's going on. Grammy winner wyclef Jean handcuffed and key takened by Los Angeles county sheriff's department early Tuesday morning. I am going to sue you. It happened while the deputies were searching the city for assailants who allegedly robbed and pistol-whipped two people in west Hollywood. Famous for "Fast car" -- ??? the end of the day in a fast car ??? And "Ready or not" -- ??? ??? jail bars ain't golden Gates ??? Jean said he was confronted outside his hotel. Automatically I'm like, people being punk'd here. Sheriffs say Jean was riding in a vehicle similar to the suspects and wearing an outfit and red bandana similar to the description given by the victims. Police say Jean was held approximately six minutes. As soon as we found out he was not the suspect, not the person we were looking for, he was just dressed similarly, he was released. The sheriff's department and wyclef Jean have different accounts of what happened during the encounter. In a statement the department says Jean was handcuffed because of his furtive movements and demeanor that he started to walk toward the trunk of the car though he was instructed not to do so, and had to be ordered several times not to place his hands near his pockets or waist band. All claims that he denies. This is what's beautiful about this, right? The fact that I am alive. And what's also beautiful about this is, there's cameras. There was absolutely no resistance. In a statement released on his behalf just hours after the incident, Jean's publicist wrote the artist was subject to police brutality, racial profiling, police bias, and the ongoing discriminatory practices of law enforcement officials which remain rampant throughout the United States. I don't think there's any evidence of police brutality. Doesn't make him guilty, doesn't make it his fault. But when looking at whether the police should be blamed you have to look at all the facts. It also doesn't make him wrong to be upset about all of this. He has every right to be upset, but he may not have a right to sue the police department for wrongdoing. Do you think there was brutality here? I think that brutality comes in many forms, right? Brutality comes in assassination, character assassination, also. I don't know how it would not be brutality if you're handcuffed. I don't know if you've ever been cuffed in the back. Let me read you one other part of their statement. They say it's unfortunate that Mr. Jean was detained as he had no involvement whatsoever in the violent crime. They go on to say that the los Angeles county sheriff's department is apologetic for any inconvenience this process caused Mr. Jean. Is that good enough for you? The apology that I'm looking for is, I didn't put my hands up. I didn't go to the trunk. To resist the officer. Jean also acknowledges that the deputies, who did later apprehend the suspect they were searching for, were just trying to do their job. I respect law enforcement. Because I have law enforcement in the family. These dudes leave every day not knowing if they're going to come back home. The incident hitting a nerve for many, especially after so many other cases involving innocent black men and law enforcement have ended in tragedy. Please don't tell me this, lord please Jesus, don't tell me he's gone. Last year philando Castille was pulled over in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. The officer relaying via radio Castille matched the description of a robbery suspect. Castille was shot and killed as he reached for his I.D. His girlfriend live streaming the entire ordeal. That officer is now awaiting trial for manslaughter. I think communities of color have a legitimate concern. They've seen enough video of officers' misconduct to shape their opinions. And it obviously has shaped some emotional reactions. While at the same time, we want our cops to go home. We support them. Creating trust between the black community and law enforcement, a goal that wyclef Jean and the former Dallas police chief, David brown, say they both support. Brown was chief when five of his officers were shot by a sniper last summer. After the July 7th incident in Dallas, wyclef called me to offer condolences. He has family members in the law enforcement community, that work in law enforcement. So he has been supportive of law enforcement. But yet when he's stopped by officerstial he has these feelings. I think we ought to listen to that. I've heard it before from communities of color. Have some common ground and some understanding. So the positive part about this is that I'm alive. And I did come out of the car. And I went through this. So I'm just saying, Yo, we really have a problem here. How can we work as a unit, like let's not fight, because you're going to need the police. The police have to protect citizens. You're going to need citizens to trust the police. Once you build that trust, you basically build a real community.

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

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