‘SNL' Comedian Jay Pharoah Wrongfully Detained in April, LAPD Investigates

The comedian said officers told him he fit the description of a suspect wanted for a crime in the area.

Jay Pharoah attends the Saturday Night Live's Afterparty at Zuma Japanese Restaurant on April 16, 2016 in New York City.
Robert Kamau/GC Images

An investigation was underway Saturday morning into the detainment of former "Saturday Night Live" cast member and comedian Jay Pharoah by Los Angeles police in Tarzana.

Pharoah said in a video posted to his Instagram account Friday that he was jogging in the area of Ventura Boulevard and Corbin Avenue in late April when four officers stopped him and ordered him to get on the ground.

Surveillance video shows officers with guns drawn ordering Pharoah to the ground. He complies and the officers move in and place him in handcuffs.

The comedian said officers told him he fit the description of a suspect wanted for a crime in the area.

Pharoah says one officer placed his knee on his neck, similar to the way a Minneapolis police officer did to George Floyd on Memorial Day, causing his death, which sparked several days of protests against police brutality and led to rioting and looting in Los Angeles and other cities.

While detained, Pharoah asked officers to Google his name. He said officers came back a short time later and apologized for detaining him. They told him he was not who they were looking for and released him.


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The Los Angeles Police Department said Friday night that Pharoah's detainment "is being investigated."

Pharoah was an SNL cast member from 2010 to 2016 and portrayed former President Barack Obama in several sketches, among other impersonations. He is currently the host of the new IMDb series "Special Skills" and has several movies scheduled for release.

On Monday, June 15, Pharoah is scheduled to discuss his LAPD detainment during an episode of the CBS show "The Talk," which was taped in advance.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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