Jay Pharoah is standing up and speaking out after being racially profiled by police officers in California.
Pharoah revealed last week that he was out jogging when multiple cops approached him. The “SNL” alum was ordered to the floor and one officer kneeled on his neck. It was later determined that Pharoah was mistaken for a suspect already in custody.
“They’re telling me to lie on the ground,” Pharoah told “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King. “It was a bad situation, I just felt disgusting. People are driving past looking at me like I’m an animal, a criminal, I did something. But I’m an innocent bystander.”
Comedian @JayPharoah is opening up about a disturbing encounter with police in April. He shared video of being stopped & an officer placing a knee on his neck in a case of mistaken identity.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 17, 2020
Pharoah said he could have “easily been an Ahmaud Arbery or a George Floyd”: “That’s the big message. The message is you can be innocent as a Black person, not doing anything, totally unassuming. You’re totally innocent and you can still get messed with.”
Pharoah, 32, asserted that Black people should not have to look over their shoulders constantly.
“We should never have to feel like our lives are in danger when we’re doing regular human activities,” he said. “I don’t want to have to fear for my life when I’m going to Whole Foods, getting some chips and guac and picking up a kombucha.”
“I don’t want to feel like my life is going to be sacrificed when I got to go to the gas station and I’m pumping some gas, standing out there and a cop comes rolling past…” he continued. “I should not feel this way when I’m trying to do regular human activities.”
Pharoah asserted that Black people in the U.S. are forced to play by a stricter set of rules: “Why do we have to feel like we’re guilty until proven innocent?”
“I called my mom and told her what happened. My dad was on the phone, too. My mom started crying,” he revealed. “It is a terrible feeling that the aftermath of a terrible situation can cause that much impact on people around you.”