The 33-year-old comedian will appear on Monday's episode of Taraji P. Henson's new Facebook Watch show, Peace of Mind, where he recounts the traumatizing encounter and how his mother and father reacted.
"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,'" Pharoah recalled. "And I do thank God. But 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."
"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."
Pharoah previously spoke about the incident last June, during an appearance on The Talk. He recalled walking across the street and seeing a helicopter flying over his head. "And all of a sudden, I see a gun from my peripheral and I look and the officer is like, ‘Freeze! Get on the ground!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh snap,'" he said.
"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."
Pharaoh added that they then put him in cuffs, and "an officer put his knee on my neck." The former SNL star remembered telling them to search his name to prove that they had the wrong guy. After the police realized that he just "fit the description," Pharaoh asked them to take the handcuffs off.
"I was just trying to exercise. It could have easily turned into another situation if I wasn’t who I am," he said. "And the point here is, being Black in America is just that, being Black in America. Other people can’t level with the same fears I have. Leaving the house, we should not have to fear going to the grocery store, going to get some gas, running down the street. It’s called human civility. That’s what it is. It’s about being a human."
Hear more from Pharoah in the video below.
Peace of Mind With Taraji episodes drop weekly, every Monday and Wednesday, at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.