London (AFP) – Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha says he has a “fear and distrust” of police in the United States as protests against racial injustice sweep across the country following the death of George Floyd.
Onuoha moved to Major League Soccer in 2018 after spells at Manchester City, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers.
“I am always very wary of how I behave and how it could be viewed by people who have power,” Onuoha, 33, told the BBC.
“For me personally, overall I don’t like to say it but I have a fear and distrust towards police.”
Onuoha highlighted America’s gun culture and the widespread use of armed police as reasons why he felt less safe in the United States.
“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.
“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.”
Onuoha said he was trying to avoid being over-critical of the police and admitted there were good officers.
“But the fact is over here they are just people from society with a badge and a gun and a lot more power,” he added.
“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 percent safe.”
Newcastle defender and US international DeAndre Yedlin has also revealed his grandfather is glad he is playing in England because he would fear for his life back home.
“A couple days after George Floyd’s death, my grandfather texted me and told me he’s glad that I am not living in the US right now because he would fear for my life as a young black man,” Yedlin posted on Twitter.