AceShowbiz - Jay Pharoah has had his own share of being the victim of racial profiling by police. Amid the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd's death, the comedian has opened up about his experience of a racially-charged encounter with law enforcement.
In a video shared on Instagram on Friday, June 12, the 32-year-old revealed the incident which happened this past spring, when he was jogging. "Coincidentally, when the footage dropped for Ahmaud Arbery, a week prior to that, I was actually on a tour, I was exercising, as I was walking across the street, Corbin and Ventura, I see an an officer to the left of me," he said in the video, which also included security footage of the incident.
"I'm not thinking anything of it because I'm a law-abiding citizen," Jay added. Wearing noise-canceling headphones at the time, he said he could see an officer ordering him to get on the ground. "I look to my left, I see the officer come in with guns blazing, I see him say 'get on the ground, put your hands up, like you're an airplane,' " he recalled.
He was still believing that the officers might talk to another person, but soon realized they had indeed meant him. In the footage, four officers can be seen approaching the former "Saturday Night Live" star with one of them pressing his knee down on Jay's neck. "The officer took his knee, he put it on my neck. It wasn't as long as George Floyd, but I know how that feels," Jay said.
When he asked what was going on, he said an officer responded, "'You fit the description of a Black man in this area with grey sweatpants on and a grey shirt.' " Jay told the officers to Google his name and "you will see that you made a big mistake." The officers later admitted that they made a mistake after making a call and they apologized. Jay said he told them, "Get these f**king cuffs off me."
"I never experienced, firsthand, racism in America until this year," he shared, thanking his parents for having sheltered him and his sister from racism for years. Stressing that things could have been different, he added, "Black lives always matter. My life matters. I'm still here to tell my story, but I could have easily been an Ahmaud Arbery or a George Floyd."
He then urged black men to educate themselves on laws and police rhetoric to defend their lives, saying, "Be in the know. I’m Jay Pharaoh and I’m a black man in America and my life matters. Black lives always matter. They always matter."
Appearing on "The Talk" to address the incident, he once again stressed, "It could have easily turned into another situation if I wasn't who I am. And the point here is being black in America, is just that, being black in America. Other people can't level with the same fears I have. Leaving the house, we should not have to fear going to the grocery store, going to get some gas, running down the street. It's called human civility. That's what it is. It's about being a human."
A representative for the LAPD tells The Hollywood Reporter that they were aware of the video and "looking into it," but has no further comment.