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youtube.com/Good Morning America

SNL Alum Jay Pharoah Reveals LAPD Officer Once Placed Knee on His Neck

Joe Akins
Jun 19, 2020
11:30 A.M.
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Former "Saturday Night Live" member of cast Jay Pharoah shares his nasty experience with the police and his thoughts on African American Lives.


Following the death of George Floyd, several people have come out to talk about their nasty experience with the police and how things should be done better.

Actor Jay Pharoah onstage during The 23rd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 11, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

Actor Jay Pharoah onstage during The 23rd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 11, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images


One such person to talk about his experience is former "SNL" cast member Jay Pharoah. In a chat with Gayle King of "CBS This Morning," Pharaoh explained what had happened.

Pharaoh told King that he had been put jogging when he noticed a police officer looking in his direction and telling him to get down. Pharaoh expressed that he initially thought the officer was referring to someone else.


In a matter of seconds, Pharaoh said he saw a police car pull up, and four officers came at him with their guns drawn. Scared of what was going on, he complied and laid on the spreadeagle. He told King:

"The officer comes, he gets on top of me, he puts his knee on me ... he puts on the cuffs. I'm shocked, I'm scared, I don't know why I'm being detained. I'm just totally confused right now."

Pharaoh then said the officers pulled him up and told him he fit the description of a black male who had on a gray shirt and gray sweatpants, which coincidentally matched what he was wearing at the time.


The incident which took place in Los Angeles and involved the Los Angeles Poice Department happened a week before the shooting of Ahmad Aubrey, and he decided to talk about it when something similar led to the death of George Floyd.

For Pharaoh, the experience was a haunting one.

Pharoah told King that he had never had any run-ins with the law and has never gotten as much as a ticket. The experience was a saddening one for him and opened his eyes to the fear that black people faced daily.


For Pharaoh, he believed the police could have handled it better and asked him to identify himself without going through all the fuss of kneeling on him and holding him at gunpoint. When asked how he felt about the knee being on his neck, Pharaoh said:

"I just thought, why?... Luckily, they pulled me up, and I got out of it. But it's like, why does it have to go to that extremity when I'm an innocent bystander?"


He added that after he had been taken into custody, he was identified correctly and let go when they discovered he was not the person they were looking for. Although they gave a nonchalant apology, Pharoah felt the whole thing was wrong.

Pharaoh had initially released the video of his arrest on Instagram when he collaborated with some influencers to raise awareness about the #blacklivesmatter protest that had been ongoing in various parts of the country.


Following the video's release, the Los Angeles Police Department stated that they had seen the video and were going to launch an investigation into the matter to resolve it as soon as possible.

For the former SNL cast member, the experience was a haunting one, and after the ordeal, he called his mother to explain what had happened. While he got lucky and was not killed, Pharaoh feels black people should not have to be subject to such extremity when it came to police matters.

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