'SNL' alum Jay Pharoah says LAPD officers held him at gunpoint, kneeled on his neck

TARZANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Comedian Jay Pharoah said he was racially profiled by LAPD officers and that one pressed a knee onto his neck.

The former "Saturday Night Live" cast member, who is black, said he was recently jogging in Tarzana when he was confronted by four police officers.

"I see an officer to the left of me. I'm not thinking anything of it because I'm a law-abiding citizen ... I see them coming with guns blazing. I see them say, 'Get on the ground. Put your hands up like you're an airplane,' Pharoah said in a video posted to Instagram Friday.

Pharoah said he then lay down on the ground and was handcuffed.

"The officer took his knee, put it on my neck. It wasn't as long as George Floyd, but I know how that feels. I said, 'Why are you doing this? Like, what's wrong?' They said, 'You fit the description of a black man in this area with gray sweatpants on and a gray shirt,' he said.
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More people are taking to the streets as government officials across the country are beginning to implement reforms in the wake of George Floyd's death.


He told the officers to Google his name, and after a minute, they let him go.

"They come back, they say, 'We're sorry, we just got a call in that it's not you,'" he said.

An LAPD spokesperson confirmed that officers detained Pharoah.

"The person in the Instagram post was detained as a possible suspect of a crime. It was determined to be the wrong suspect and he was let go. The incident is being investigated," the spokesperson said in a statement to ABC7.

The incident comes amid waves of protests and calls for police reform after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

Pharoah said he wants people to learn from these stories and bring an end to systemic racism.

"We as a country can't breathe anymore. Black lives always matter," he said.
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