Former New York City Mike Bloomberg was a huge supporter of “stop and frisk,” a policy that allowed police to stop anyone they considered “suspicious” and search them, even after it was struck down as unconstitutional. Now that he’s running for the Democratic nomination, he is very sorry.
“Over time, I’ve come to understand something that I long struggled to admit to myself: I got something important wrong,” Bloomberg said in a Sunday speech at a black megachurch in Brooklyn. “I got something important really wrong. I didn’t understand back then the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities. I was totally focused on saving lives — but as we know: good intentions aren’t good enough.”
Bloomberg defended policy months earlier:
Bloomberg’s new stance on his mistake is a serious departure from his comments all the way back in… January of 2019.
"We focused on keeping kids from going through the correctional system," Bloomberg said. "Kids who walked around looking like they might have a gun, remove the gun from their pockets and stop it,” Bloomberg said during a speech at the United States Naval Academy’s 2019 Leadership Conference.
"The result of that was, over the years, the murder rate in New York City went from 650 a year to 300 a year when I left," he added.
"We certainly did not pick somebody by race," he said. "It was a program which we had, and then, when the number of guns we were confiscating started to fall and people left their guns at home, we tailed that off."
90% of stops targeted people of color:
Bloomberg’s newfound belief that he made a mistake, even though a federal judge called the policy unconstitutional in 2013, fell short for many critics.
“Under Bloomberg, NYPD increased stop and frisk from 100,000 stops to nearly 700,000 stops per year,” wrote activist Samuel Sinyangwe. “90% of those impacted were people of color - overwhelmingly black and brown men. Bloomberg personally has the money to begin paying reparations for this harm. ‘Sorry’ isn’t enough.”
“Bloomberg can apologize now for fighting for years to keep an unconstitutional, racist system in place,” wrote journalist Chris Geidner. “That he defended his view, up to and including earlier this year, is its own disqualifying factor in his presidential candidacy beyond the policy itself.”