“See an officer to the left of me. I don’t think about it, because I’m a law-abiding citizen,” Pharoah said. “‘Officer, I see him coming with flamboyant guns. I see him say, “Get on the ground. Raise your hands as if you were not a plane.As Pharoah tells the story, surveillance footage appears to show his encounter with four LAPD officers.
“Four officers put their guns on,” he says. “They tell me to put me on the ground, spread my arms, they put me in handcuffs, the officer took his knee, put it on my neck.”
According to the video, Pharoah did what the officers said, but asked why they were arresting him.
“They said, ‘You fit the description of a black man in this area with grey sweatpants and a grey shirt,'” he said.
Pharoah told them to Google his name to prove they were arresting the wrong man. He said they apologized and let him go, but compared his experience to that of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis last month after nearly nine minutes with a police officer’s knee on his neck. Pharoah said he knows “what it feels like.”
The Los Angeles Police Department told USA Today that it is “studying the incident” and the footage. The LAPD also said they provided Pharoah with a document to file a complaint for misconduct.
The LAPD did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
Pharoah said he grew up in the suburbs, with relatives who protected him and his sister from many of the impacts of racism in the United States “I didn’t experience racism first-hand in America until this year,” he says.
Pharoah also urged his supporters to learn about the law in order to protect themselves during meetings with law enforcement. He said that he could have “aor a George Floyd” and he concluded with a message of support.
“I’m Jay Pharoah and I’m a black man in America,” he says. Black lives still matter. They always matter.