The police reportedly told him that he matched the description of a suspect. Pharoah, who was released soon after, told Gayle King, co-host of “CBS This Morning”, that he had been a victim of racism.
In a statement to CBS News, the LAPD said, “We are aware of the video and it is under investigation. ”
Learn more about King’s conversation with Pharaoh below.
Pharaoh: I cross the street, then suddenly I hear: “Get down on the floor”. … The cop from the left of me, he comes, he comes, he pulled out his gun. I don’t know what’s going on.
King: But you didn’t think they were talking to you at the start, did you?
Pharaoh: I didn’t do it because Gayle, like I said, I have no contact with the law. I never even got a ticket. … I have never had weapons pointed at me, Gayle. … I was never handcuffed.
King: So they tell you to get down. Do you comply immediately?
Pharaoh: They said they lay on the ground and stretch out their arms like a plane. The officer arrives. He climbs on me, he puts his knee on me, he puts my hands, my arms are back here, he puts the handcuffs. … I’m shocked. I am scared. I do not know why I am detained. I’m just totally confused right now. … So they pull me up, telling me that I match the description.
King: What was the description?
Pharaoh: The description was a black man in gray sweatpants and a gray shirt.
King: You had gray jogging pants and a gray t-shirt.
Pharaoh: Oh yeah, I did. I did.
King: So what should they have done?
Pharaoh: I think the right way to deal with this would have been for the cops to come calmly to me because they see that I have nothing on me. … It should have been like, “Hey man, we have a problem right now. We are asking you if you have your identity card because someone who has just run away has fled a scene from the police and we are looking for him. ”
King: The officer knelt down. Where did he kneel on you?
Pharaoh: The cop put his – he put his pressure, he put it all, this is his – his knee, his leg, right here.
King: Is on your neck
Pharaoh: It was just at the bottom of my neck.
King: This is before the George Floyd case, so at that time, what were you thinking when he had his knee on his neck?
Pharaoh: I just thought why? … Now, I don’t have 8 minutes and 46 seconds of an officer above me like that, obstructing my airways and choking me. I do not have that. … Fortunately, they pulled me out and I got out. But it’s like, why do we have to go to this end? … When I am an innocent spectator. … We should never feel like our lives are in danger when we do regular human activities. I don’t want to have to worry about my life when I go to Whole Foods and have crisps and guac, or pick up a kombucha.
King: This is the assumption that bothers you. It doesn’t seem like you benefited from the doubt, does it?
Pharaoh: That’s it, Gayle. Black people in America in general. Why do we have to feel guilty until our innocence is proven? Where does the other party become innocent until proven guilty? … I saw a video yesterday where there was a gentleman and the cop was trying to apprehend him. … The guy ran towards him. The cop starts to run. … He is running. The suspect then gets into the car, backs up and almost hits the policeman.
King: Were there shots fired?
Pharaoh: No shot fired.
King: When you said you were afraid, were you afraid of losing your life?
Pharaoh: Yes. When I see pistols coming towards me, my natural instinct is, oh, brittle. I could – I could die.
King: You said you comply. Did you say, my name is?
Pharaoh: I said, I don’t have my ID card. on me, but if you Google Jay Pharaoh, you’ll find that you’re making a big mistake. A few minutes later, they came back and said, “Oh, we got a call that you are not the guy. Sorry, my bad. “My bad” is not good enough.
King: Jay, did they say “my bad”? Did they say that?
Pharaoh: They said, “I’m – oh, sorry, sorry. ” It’s not enough. … There must be some practice with these police reforms. … I don’t want to see 20 other blacks being martyrs for no reason.
King: Who was the first person you called after this happened to you?
Pharaoh: I called my mom and told her what had happened. My dad was on the phone too and just, you know, my mom started crying.
King: And it also affects you to see your family cry too.
Pharaoh: It’s a terrible feeling that the consequences of such a terrible situation could have so much impact on the people around you. … I hit Steve Harvey when it happened. He said, “You have a” being black in America “sandwich.” And I said it was exactly that. I ate it and I know what it tastes like.
King: Being black in an American sandwich. Yeah, and it doesn’t taste good.
Pharaoh: Do you know what tastes good? Just be a beautiful black person.
King: Yes, it feels good too.