Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharoah said in an Instagram post Friday that he was recently stopped by LAPD officers with their guns drawn and one of them kneeled on his neck.
The comedian revealed details of the April 26 encounter along with surveillance video, and said he was out exercising in the Tarzana neighborhood of Los Angeles when the incident occurred.
“I literally could have been George Floyd,” he said.
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Pharoah noted that he was wearing noise-canceling headphones when he noticed an LAPD officer to his left.
“I’m not thinking anything of it because I’m a law-abiding citizen,” he recalled. “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.”
The comedian narrated the highly-produced video, which addresses the issue of racism in America, and begins with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.
“They put me in cuffs. The officer took his knee, put it on my neck. Wasn’t as long as George Floyd. But I know how that feels! I said why are you doing this? What’s wrong? They said you fit the description,” he recalled.
The 32-year-old impressionist, who spent six seasons on SNL, recreated part of the encounter. At one point, he said he asked officers to “Google him” before they realized their mistake.
His post came amid nationwide protests over the in-custody death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Once Pharoah’s post went viral, the LAPD said the incident is under investigation.
“The person in the Instagram post was detained as a possible suspect of a crime,” the police department told KABC-TV. It was determined to be the wrong suspect and he was let go. The incident is being investigated.”