Former “Saturday Night Live” star Jay Pharoah reveals details of a meeting with police that left him in a similar situation to George Floyd.
In a 4-minute video posted to his Instagram, Pharoah, 32, recounts that he was exercising in Los Angeles months ago when he was approached by a police officer who ordered him to get grounded.
“I walk across the street, Corbin and Ventura, I see an officer to the left of me. I don’t think about it, because I’m a law-abiding citizen,” Pharoah says through the images.
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“I see him coming with guns, I see him say, “Get on the ground, raise your hands like you’re not a plane.” Looking at me, I think he’s making a mistake. So I look beyond where he’s looking. I look at him, and I look in front of me because I think, “Whoever they are about to have, it’s about to be terrible.” No, he was coming for me,” the comedian said.
Seconds later, surveillance footage shows Pharoah lying on a sidewalk surrounded by four officers.
“They put me in handcuffs, the officer took his knee, put it on my neck. It wasn’t as long as George Floyd, but I know what it feels like. I said, “Why are you doing this? What’s wrong? They said: “Or match the description of a black man in this area with grey sweatpants on and a grey shirt. I told them, “Google right now Jay Pharoah, you’ll see you’ve made a big mistake.
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The officers then informed him that they actually had the wrong guy. Pharoah says he responded by asking officers to remove the handcuffs from his wrists.
“I had never been handcuffed until then,” Pharoah said, adding that it was the first time he had experienced “racism first-hand in America.”
The star then implores his followers to learn about the laws.
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“Lose what the cops tell you, so if they’re trying to turn something on you, on our young black men in general, we have the knowledge and the power to reverse that.”
Pharoah says he “could easily have been an Ahmaud Arbery or George Floyd” and concludes with a message supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Be aware. I’m Jay Pharoah, and I’m a black man in America and my life matters. Black lives still matter. You always matter.
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Floyd was a 46-year-old black man who died in police custody last month after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. In a now viral video, Floyd can be heard telling the cop, “I can’t breathe.”
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers involved in the incident have been dismissed and face felony charges.