The rapper, who took part in the #BlackoutTuesday protest yesterday (June 2), said people would be outraged if a dog was handled the same way.
“If we saw a human being with their knees on a dog the world would be in outrage,” the rapper told Sky News today (June 3). “I guess that’s kind of the best way to sum it up.”
The artist said that watching the video footage that appears to show a white police officer kneeling on the black man’s neck on May 25 was “pretty shocking” but something we “just keep seeing”.
“You know, we wouldn’t accept this for an animal so to keep seeing it happen to human beings – more importantly, to black people, people of colour – you definitely have a feeling of being marginalised,” Tempah said.
Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis on May 25 following his arrest for allegedly using a fake $20 note.
Results from an independent autopsy conducted earlier this week confirmed that Floyd died due to to asphyxiation resulting from pressure applied to his back and neck. These results differed from an initial autopsy that did not find evidence of “traumatic asphyxia or strangulation”, and that underlying health conditions played a role in the unarmed man’s death [via BBC News].
Former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was last week charged in connection with Floyd’s death, has since seen his charge upgraded from third-degree murder to second-degree murder. Three more police officers have been charged in connection with the murder.
Tempah, whose real name is Patrick Okogwu, is one of many music artists speaking out about racism. He joins Jaz-Z, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Dre Dre and numerous others in lending his voice to the Black Lives Matter movement and calling for justice for Floyd.
He also told Sky News that for people to claim that racism isn’t as prevalent in the UK as it is in the US is “the height of ignorance”.
Tempah said: “I’m even gonna go as far as to say, shame on you, whoever says that, shame on you. Because we all know that racism exists in the UK.
“Even for someone to say that officers aren’t armed [in the UK], it’s almost like… I don’t know how the best way to describe this is… it’s almost excuses, almost trying to find a justification for why we are better or not.”
He added: “The fact is that racism is wrong. And if racism exists anywhere, on any level, it’s wrong. It’s inhumane. It’s evil.”
Meanwhile, people in the UK were encouraged to undertake a peaceful protest from their doorsteps earlier tonight in support of Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) led a “take the knee” protest to show support for the anti-racist protests that began in the US last week.