'SNL' alum Jay Pharoah shares video of police pulling guns on him while jogging and kneeling on his neck
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, comedian and former ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast member Jay Pharoah revealed that he too was recently stopped by multiple Los Angeles Police Department officers with their guns drawn and that one of the officers knelt down on his neck. Floyd, who died on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was stopped by policemen. Derek Chauvin, a now-fired cop knelt on Floyd’s neck which is thought to have led him to suffocate.
Taking to Instagram on Friday, June 12, Pharoah shared security camera footage of the incident, which he said took place a week before the death of Ahmaud Arbery, as part of a longer video about racism. He wrote alongside the video: “I am a Black man in America, proud to be but this is AMERICA #BlackFilter. Proud to have collabed with so many influencers on this one, @theonlycarey thank you for allowing me to express my situation with temperance.”
You can watch the video here.
Reportedly, Pharoah also discussed what happened during an appearance on the June 12 episode of CBS’s daytime talk show, ‘The Talk’.
“I see a gun from my peripheral and I look and the officer is like, ‘Freeze – get on the ground,’ and I’m like ‘Oh snap’…” Pharoah said on ‘The Talk’. “Three more officers drove up… it’s hot, corona[virus] is definitely something to be worried about, the police officers didn’t have on gloves, they didn’t have on masks… When they put me in cuffs, after they were all on me, an officer put his knee on my neck.”
“I was actually on Ventura, I was exercising, as I’m walking across the street… I see an officer to the left of me. I’m not thinking anything of it because I’m a law-abiding citizen,” Pharoah said in the Instagram video. “I see him coming with guns blazing, I see him say, ‘Get on the ground, put your hands up like you’re an airplane.’ As he’s looking at me I’m thinking that he’s making a mistake.”
The security cam footage he shared shows multiple police officers approach him with guns out. The cops told him that he “fit the description of a Black man” they were looking for in the area who was also wearing gray sweatpants and a gray t-shirt. “Google right now Jay Pharoah, you will see that you made a big mistake,” Pharoah told the officers as one pinned him to the ground, put a knee on his neck and handcuffed him. A little later, Pharoah was released after they realized they had the wrong man.
“I could have easily been an Ahmaud Arbery or a George Floyd,” Pharoah said in the video. “We as a country can’t breathe anymore. We are tired, we are sick, and we are tired of it. I can’t breathe.”
“I can’t breathe,” has become a symbol of racial oppression and police violence in the U.S. post the death of Floyd, who could be seen uttering the words multiple times in the video that captured his death.
Filmmaker Gerard Bush took to Twitter after the Instagram video and wrote, “This is beyond outrageous and heartbreaking. I encourage all of you to take two minutes to look at the footage of @JayPharoah in handcuffs, on the ground. A celebrated Black man who is just another black man in the crosshairs of racists cops! Luckily he survived to tell about it.”