Jay Pharoah ‘could’ve been George Floyd’ after encounter with LAPD

Security footage shows several police officers roll up on the actor, with guns drawn, as he lay on the ground.

(Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for BET)

Comedian Jay Pharoah has opened up about his harrowing encounter with Los Angeles police during an #ExercisingWhileBlack moment last month.  

In a video shared to his Instagram account on Friday, the former Saturday Night Live star, 32, said the incident occurred a week before video surfaced showing Ahmaud Arbery being fatally shot as he was allegedly out for a jog in Georgia.

“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 explains in the clip, which includes security footage of the confrontation, PEOPLE reports. 

“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,” he adds. “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, this is going to be terrible.'”

But Pharoah soon realizes, “He was coming to get me,” he says in the clip. 

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The security footage shows several officers roll up on the actor, with guns drawn, as he lay on the ground.

“Four officers got their guns blazing, they tell me to get on the ground, spread my arms out, they put me in cuffs, the officer took his knee, put it on my neck,” Pharoah explains. “It wasn’t as long as George Floyd, but I know how that feels.”

He says cops fed him the usual line that he “fit the description” of a Black male suspect who was wanted in the area. 

“I told them if you look, Google right now Jay Pharoah, you will see that you made a big mistake.” 

He was ultimately allowed to leave the scene once officers were informed that Pharoah was not the person they were looking for. 

“I had never been in cuffs before up until that point. I’m a law-abiding citizen,” he says. 

Hear/watch him tell it via the Instagram video above.

Media personality Jawn Murry tweeted a link to the Deadline story about the incident, and added the caption “He could’ve been George Floyd!:

Pharoah responded, “Just a Black man living in America.”

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