Since Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed an African-American identified as George Floyd, the debate over the safety of black people in the United States of America has taken the centre stage. Nigerian born American footballer Nedum Onuoha, a former Manchester City defender who played for the USA national team, said he always feel unsafe while walking on the streets of America.
Recently, a video surfaced on the internet showing Derek Chauvin, a police officer, resting his knee on the neck of George Floyd until he suffocated to death. The police who is white carried out this act in a broad daylight and in the midst of other police officers who didn’t stop him. Though the police officers involved were sacked from the police service, people in the USA and across the world want stiffer consequences for Chauvin and other policemen involved.
While reacting to the gruesome murder of George Floyd, the former Manchester City defender said he does not feel “100% safe” in the USA as a black man; he added that he is always careful of how he behaves in public because of how he could be viewed by the police. He also revealed that he doesn’t trust the police in the country.
“I am always very wary of how I behave and how it could be viewed by people who have power,” he told BBC. “For me personally, overall I don’t like to say it but I have a fear and distrust towards police.
“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.”
Onuoha played the best part of his football career in the United Kingdom. When he left Manchester City, he spent 6 years with Championship side Queens Park Rangers before he returned to the USA to join Major League Soccer Real Salt Lake.
The 33-year-old former Manchester City defender told BBC that though he enjoys staying in the United States, he feels safer on the streets of England than in the USA.
“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”, he said “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.”