SNL Comedian Jay Pharoah Releases Footage Of Police Kneeling On His Neck

by : Cameron Frew on :
Jay Pharoah Police Footage ThumbnailJay Pharoah/Instagram

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Saturday Night Live comedian and actor Jay Pharoah has shared footage of police officers kneeling on his neck. 

Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis officers has sparked a worldwide surge in the Black Lives Matter movement, with protests and ‘I Can’t Breathe’ placards flooding streets in the US and beyond.


Prior to the current unrest, around one week before to Ahmaud Arbery’s death, the SNL alumnus encountered police while jogging in Tarzana, Los Angeles, when officers stopped him because he met the profile of a ‘black man in grey sweatpants and a grey shirt’.

You can check out Pharoah’s account of the incident in the video below: 


Taking to Instagram, the 32-year-old explained how he could have ‘literally been George Floyd. We, as a country, can’t breathe anymore. We are sick and we are tired of it.’


Breaking down the police encounter, Pharoah said: 

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.’

Moments later, the actor is put in handcuffs and surrounded by office, with on officer placing his knee on Pharoah’s neck. ‘It wasn’t as long as George Floyd, but I know how that feels,’ he said. After asking why they were doing this, he was told he fitted the generic description of a local black man.

Jay Pharoah Police FootageJay Pharoah/Instagram

After telling officers to Google his name, at which point they’d realise they made a ‘big mistake’, they soon let him go, saying: ‘We’re sorry, we just got a call in that it’s not you.’

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson confirmed to ABC7 Pharoah was detained as a ‘possible suspect of crime… it was determined to be the wrong suspect and he was let go’, however ‘the incident is being investigated’.

Later in the video, Pharoah said he’d never been in handcuffs until that point, and it was the first time he’d ever experienced ‘first-hand racism in America’. ‘Understand what the cops are saying to you so if they try to flip anything on you, on our young black men in general, we have the knowledge and power to overthrow that,’ he added.

Jay Pharoah Police Footage VideoJay Pharoah/Instagram

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In conclusion, he said: ‘Be in the know. I’m Jay Pharoah, and I’m a black man in America and my life matters. Black lives always matter. You always matter.’

Former officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s case, with three other officers – Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng – charged with aiding and abetting in the felony.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Film and TV, Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, Los Angeles, Now, police brutality, Saturday Night Live, SNL


Jay Pharoah/Instagram and 1 other
  1. Jay Pharoah/Instagram


  2. ABC7

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