Comedian Jay Pharoah is sharing his police brutality experience and the phone call he had with his parents after being wrongfully targeted by police in the summer of 2020 in Los Angeles.
The 33-year-old actor will appear on the Jan. 11 episode of Taraji P. Henson’s new Facebook Watch show Peace of Mind. He will recount his traumatizing encounter with LAPD while he was on a run and noticed a helicopter flying overhead as officers tracked his movements. Pharoah also explains how his mother and father responded to the situation.
Pharoah previously spoke about the terrifying incident on Good Morning America in June amid the COVID-19 pandemic and said that he saw a gun from his peripheral view, and then heard an officer shout, “Freeze! Get on the ground!”
"They were coming at me, guns blazing, get on the ground, spread your arms like an airplane. Three more officers drove up," he continued. "The officers all surrounded me…It’s hot, corona[virus] is definitely something to be worried about. The police officers didn’t have on gloves. They didn’t have on masks. They said get on the ground. They said I fit the description of a Black man with gray sweatpants and a gray shirt."
Pharoah added that he was also handcuffed and remembered an officer put his knee on his neck. After he urged the police to search his name to prove the wrong guy, he was released. He didn’t “fit the description.”
Speaking with Henson on Peace of Mind, the former SNL star said that he immediately called his parents to share with them the police brutality he’d just experienced.
“I called and talked to my mom,” he says. “My dad was in the background. My mom was just, I could hear it in her voice. I could hear the shakiness, the 'what if.' And that's what she said, 'We could have lost you today, had it been different. You really need to thank God.”
Pharaoh says that at that moment he was upset at what had just occurred, “Mom, I’m just mad right now. I’m in a way that I’ve never been mad before. Because I’ve never experienced this.”
He continued to explain that his mother felt helpless and his dad was trying to piece together the situation.
“So she felt totally helpless, and my dad was just trying to figure out what was going on,” he continued. “Of course he was emotional about it, because he's been through situations. ... I know that moment for them had to spark emotion as well.”
Peace of Mind With Taraji episodes air every Monday and Wednesday, at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.
Watch the clip below:
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(Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)