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Nedum Onuoha: Former Man City defender says he does not feel safe in USA

Widespread protests have taken place across 75 US cities

Former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha says he does not feel “100% safe” in the USA.

Onuoha plays for Utah-based Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer after spending six years at QPR.

“I am always very wary of how I behave and how it could be viewed by people who have power,” Onuoha, 33, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“For me personally, overall I don’t like to say it but I have a fear and distrust towards police.”

Widespread protests have taken place across 75 US cities since George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after being pinned down by a white police officer.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with his murder. He and three other police officers have been sacked.

Sports stars have added their voices on social media with a ‘blackout’ – uploading a black image alongside a message of support.

Onuoha backed the protestors by saying: “It is emotional; it is something that is overdue to be honest. There has been a big wave of energy towards this, there has been a lot of talk about George Floyd – these issues have been around for decades.

“People have been trying to make noise. I have been trying to say things but it gets pushed away for too long. Enough is enough; what gives me strength is that it’s not just black people who are protesting now.

“The change will come but within that, there are so many nuanced things within the protest – for example, a lot of black people are scared to do what some of the white people are doing to the police.

“It’s crazy to see but it is very necessary. I am not going to say to them that they shouldn’t do anything because they haven’t been heard for this long so let them be heard now.”

‘If police read me wrong, they could take my life’

President Donald Trump has threatened to send in the military to quell growing civil unrest in the US, as dozens of people have been injured with authorities using tear gas and force to disperse protests.

Four officers were shot and injured on Monday night during unrest in St Louis, Missouri.

Onuoha added that the gun laws in the USA added to his sense of unease.

He said: “I have loved living in this country but there is [another] side of it.

“In the UK, I am more comfortable because if something happens it probably will not be deadly – but over here because of their rights it is more common that altercations become deadly. I am always very aware of that whenever I go around anywhere.

“I am comfortable but when it comes to any kind of brutality, if it’s from the police, if they read me the wrong way then my life could be taken. I feel that every single day. It is not just me but everybody else as well.

“I am not trying to be overly critical to the police, there are plenty of good police officers out there, but sometimes I feel like people put police on a pedestal and make them seem superhuman.

“But the fact is over here they are just people from society with a badge and a gun and a lot more power.

“If you worry about the man next door, why would you not worry about the person patrolling the streets who now has more power, more guns but the same views?

“I never go out and feel 100% safe.”


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