The Saturday Night Live alum told his story of LAPD officers mistaking him for a suspect, and kneeling on his neck as they cuffed him. “Coincidentally when the footage dropped of Ahmaud Arbery, a week prior to that I was actually on Ventura, I was exercising,” he explained. “As I’m walking across the street, I see an officer to the left of me. I’m not thinking anything of it cuz I’m a law-abiding citizen. And also keep in mind I’ve got my Bose headphones on – noise-canceling – so I’m in my zone right now. I look to my left, the officer – I see him coming with guns blazing. I see him say, ‘Get on the ground. Put your hands up like you’re an airplane.’”
He continued by saying the cop must have been talking to someone else, but then the comedian realized he wasn’t. “No, he was coming to get me,” he said. “Four officers got their guns blazing, they tell me to get on the ground and spread my arms out. They put me in cuffs. The officer took his knee and put it on my neck. It wasn’t as long as George Floyd, but I know how that feels.”
When Pharoah asked why he was being handcuffed, the officers explained he fit the description of “a Black man in this area with grey sweatpants on and a grey shirt.” He told them to Google his name, and they’d quickly know they made a mistake. “A minute later, after I was detained in cuffs, they come back and say, ‘We’re sorry, we just got a call in, it’s not you,’” the actor continued. “I said, ‘Get these effing cuffs off of me.’ I had never been in cuffs before.”
Pharoah concluded his message by encouraging other Black men to keep themselves educated when it comes to the law. “Black lives always matter. My life matters. I’m still here to tell my story, but I could easily have been an Ahmaud Arbery or a George Floyd. And I’m not and I can tell my story so I will tell y’all this is what you need to do,” he said. “Educate yourselves on the laws, understand what the cops are saying to you so if they try and flip anything on you, on our young Black men – ou Black men in general – we have the knowledge and the power to overthrow that because we’re well-rounded, we know what’s going on. Be in the know.”
See the clip below.
After sharing his story, Pharoah received an outpouring of love and support from fans. “I appreciate the overwhelming amount of messages of love I have recieved [sic],” he tweeted, “with racial uproar being so ubiquitous I’m happy to know how many people have my back, change is gonna come.”