Jay Pharoah ‘Scared’ for His Life During Racially-Charged Encounter With Police
The ‘Saturday Night Live’ alum details the moment L.A. police stopped him on the street and placed a knee on his neck in an interview with Gayle King on ‘CBS This Morning’.
- Jun 18, 2020
Jay Pharoah has once again revisited the disturbing moment he experienced when he was stopped by police while jogging back in April. In a new interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning”, he opened up about his feeling during and in the aftermath of the racially-charged encounter.
“I’m shocked. I’m scared. I don’t know why I’m being detained. I’m just totally confused right now,” he revealed what was on his mind when the officers told him to lay on the ground and put handcuffs on him. The former “Saturday Night Live” star stressed that he was scared he could lose his life, saying, “When I see guns coming towards me, my natural instinct is, oh, snap. I could – I could die.”
Jay also lamented the “extremity” of the police’s action on him as one of the cops placed a knee on the bottom of his neck. “I just thought why?” Referring to the George Floyd incident that happened after his own experience, the comedian added, “Now, I do not have 8 minutes and 46 seconds of an officer being on top of me like that, obstructing my airway and choking me. I don’t have that. … 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 continued. “We should never have to feel like our lives are in danger when we’re doing regular human activities. I don’t want to have to fear for my life when I’m going to Whole Foods and getting some chips and guac, or picking up a kombucha.”
While they eventually released him, Jay thinks that the officers could’ve handled things differently. “I think the right way to handle this situation would have been for the cops to calmly come up to me since they see I don’t have anything on me,” he shared. “It should have been like, ‘Hey man, we’re having a problem right now. We ask you if you have your I.D. because there’s somebody who just ran, fled a scene from police officers and we’re looking for him.’ ”
The 32-year-old star told Gayle that it’s the assumption that bothers him. “Black people in America in general. Why do we have to feel like we’re guilty until proven innocent? Where the other side gets innocent until proven guilty?” he mused.
Jay said after realizing their mistake, the police said to him, “I’m – oh, sorry, sorry,” but “that’s not enough.” He demanded a change in “some practice with these policing, reforms,” because “I don’t want to see another 20 black people be martyrs for no reason.”
The “Ride Along” star said his parents were the first persons he called after the incident. He recalled their heartbreaking reaction, “I called my mom and I told her what happened. My dad was on the phone too and it just, you know, my mom started crying. It’s a terrible feeling that the aftermath of such a terrible situation can cause that much impact on people around you.”
He additionally confided to Steve Harvey about the disturbing encounter and revealed what the veteran comedian told him. “I hit up Steve Harvey when it happened. He said, ‘You got a ‘being black in America sandwich.’ And I said that’s exactly it. I’ve eaten it and I know how it tastes,” he said.
Jay first came forward with the story on June 12 amid the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Sharing security footage of the incident, he said, “Black lives always matter. My life matters. I’m still here to tell my story, but I could have easily been an Ahmaud Arbery or a George Floyd.”
Responding to Jay’s claims, the LAPD said in a statement, “We are aware of the video and it’s under investigation.”
Published at Thu, 18 Jun 2020 03:24:00 +0000