Adding his story to the litany of black voices describing frightening encounters with law enforcement, comedian and former SNL cast member Jay Pharoah posted a video to Instagram Friday, tagged #BlackFilter and made by Careyon Productions, describing a recent incident in which LAPD officers drew guns on him before handcuffing him on the ground, one kneeling on his neck. In addition to his own personal account of the experience, Pharoah shares nearby security footage of the moment itself.
As the White Famous actor explains, he was jogging in Los Angeles earlier this year when suddenly four police officers approached him. “As I’m walking across the street, Corbin and Ventura, I see an officer to the left of me. I’m not thinking anything of it, because I’m a law-abiding citizen,” Pharoah says. “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. So, I’m looking past where he’s looking. I’m looking at him, and I’m looking past me, ’cause I’m like, ‘Whoever they’re about to get … It’s about to be terrible.’” Says the comedian, it’s only then that he realized: “No, he was coming to get me.”
According to Pharoah, the police alleged he fit the description of a suspect they were looking for in the area, a black man with gray sweatpants and a gray shirt. In the security footage, which you can see in the Instagram video below, four police officers can be seen approaching the actor, guns drawn, and handcuffing him on the ground. While he’s being handcuffed, one officer is kneeling on the back of Pharoah’s neck. After asking the police to Google his name, Pharoah says the officers got a call and let him go. “Black lives always matter. My life matters,” says the actor. “I’m still here to tell my story, but I could have easily been an Ahmaud Arbery or a George Floyd.” Pharoah will be discussing the incident further on Monday’s episode of CBS’s The Talk.