Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg formally and publicly apologized for the first time on the campaign trail for the stop-and-frisk policies that he repeatedly promoted and defended throughout his tenure.
According to CNN, Bloomberg apologized during a launch event for “Mike for Black America” in Houston, Texas, saying the policy is something deeply regrets.
“There is one aspect of approach that I deeply regret, the abuse of police practice called stop and frisk,” Bloomberg said. “I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn’t understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young Black and brown families and their kids. I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it. I didn’t, and for that I apologize.”
Of course, Bloomberg has apologized for this tainted legacy before, however, that apology was issued before the congregation of a Black megachurch in Brooklyn and before he officially announced his run.
The timing of this second apology is also probably not a coincidence, given earlier this week #BloombergIsARacist was trending across the United States as audio surfaced of him defending the policy back in 2015.
In the audio, which was from a 2015 speech the mayor gave in Colorado at the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg could be heard saying that “Ninety-five percent of your murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O…You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city.”
He also acknowledged that “We put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes. That’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.”
Bloomberg defended these stances saying that it was to remove guns from the streets, adding “and the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”
Bloomberg later released a statement about the audio, CNN notes, claiming that he inherited the stop-and-frisk practice, but by the time he left office had cut it back by 95%.
“I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities,” he said.
That being said, he also had time to be petty, referencing President Donald Trump, who shared the audio, noting that “President Trump’s deleted tweet is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans.”
Now, it turns out, Bloomberg is promising to “work to dismantle systems that are plagued by bias and discrimination,” as he said during his campaign stop.
“I will invest in the communities that borne the brunt of those systems for generations. And I’ll put this work at the very top of our agenda,” Bloomberg vowed.