Former 'SNL' star Jay Pharoah shares footage of being detained by officers brandishing firearms

Former “Saturday Night Live” star Jay Pharoah shared surveillance footage of him being detained by officers wielding guns and kneeling on his neck while he was jogging in Los Angeles in late April.

The comedian shared the story of his encounter in an Instagram video posted Friday along with the footage. He said the incident happened weeks before the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was killed by armed white residents of a Georgia neighborhood while he was jogging.

"I was exercising," he said. "As I'm walking across the street ... I see an officer to the left of me. I'm not thinking anything of it because I'm a law-abiding citizen."

Pharoah said he was detained and told he fit the description of another black man the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was looking for. The officers asked him to lay on the ground and handcuffed him, and one officer put their knee on his neck, the footage shows. 

"It wasn't as long as George Floyd, but I know how that feels," Pharoah said, referring to the black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 after an officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. 

Pharoah said he told the officers that if they Googled his name, “you will see that you made a big mistake.”

The officers eventually let him go, but Pharaoh said he "could have easily been an Ahmaud Arbery or a George Floyd."


LAPD spokeswoman Gisselle Espinoza told The Hill the department is looking into the incident as well as several other online videos showing its officers berating or using excessive force on citizens. 

Since Floyd’s death, activists have taken over the streets of dozens of U.S. cities and demanded police reform and the defunding of police departments. 

Several police departments, including the LAPD, have banned chokeholds, such as the one Pharoah was briefly put in.