Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is distancing himself from his previous staunch support of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing strategy that led to the targeting of Black and Latinx people across the city.
According to the New York Times, Bloomberg openly apologized while speaking at a Black megachurch in Brooklyn.
“I was wrong,” Bloomberg told the congregation at the Christian Culture Center, according to the report. “And I am sorry.”
“I now see that we should have acted sooner, and acted faster,” he added.
The timing of Bloomberg’s apology was met with scrutiny, as he appears to be considering a Democratic presidential run in 2020, and the Black vote is sure to be critical to any hope of a successful candidacy in the primaries.
According to CNN, current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who dropped out of the 2020 presidential race earlier this year, openly blasted Bloomberg and the timing of his apparent change of heart, noting that “[Bloomberg] had almost six full years to say it was wrong.”
“He has never cared to do that. And I think that says something about the veracity of this,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio wasn’t the only one who was skeptical of Bloomberg’s apology. Rev. Al Sharpton issued a statement following Bloomberg’s speech, noting that the former mayor had reached out to him.
“I am glad to see Mr. Bloomberg now admit that the policy was wrong,” Sharpton said in the statement. “I communicated to him that it will take more than one speech for people to forgive and forget a policy that so negatively impacted entire communities.”
“We will have to wait and see whether it was politically motivated but Mr. Bloomberg should be judged by the same standards we judged Joe Biden, the author of the 1994 Crime Bill that led to disproportionate numbers of Black and Brown men going to jail for years, as well as Senator Bernie Sanders, who voted for it,” Sharpton added.