'I was wrong': Bloomberg sorry for 'Stop and Frisk' in about-face apology ahead of potential presidential bid | CNN Politics (2023)

'I was wrong': Bloomberg sorry for 'Stop and Frisk' in about-face apology ahead of potential presidential bid | CNN Politics (1)

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Michael Bloomberg apologized Sunday for the New York Police Department’s use of “stop and frisk,” a policing tactic the former mayor and potential 2020 candidate has repeatedly defended as helping to lower the murder rate during his time in office while critics have slammed the measure as racist because it overwhelmingly impacts men of color.

The apology came during remarks the former three-term mayor made at a predominately African American mega church in Brooklyn, New York, where he addressed “stop and frisk,” a type of aggressive policing that allowed – some say encouraged – officers to detain a person on virtually any type of vague suspicion, search that individual without a warrant and arrest the person if any kind of illegal substance or weapon was found.

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The policing approach, officially called “Stop, question and frisk,” sparked a backlash from activists throughout Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor because it disproportionately affected African American and Latino men.

“Now hindsight is 20/20. But as crime continued to come down as we reduced stops and as it continued to come down during the next administration to its credit, I now see that we could and should have acted sooner. And acted faster to cut the stops. I wish we had. And I’m sorry that we didn’t,” Bloomberg said.

“But I can’t change history, however today I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong and I’m sorry.”

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg meets with local business owners and local activists after he toured the Paulson Electric Company on December 4, 2018 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Steve Pope/Getty Images Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends use of 'stop and frisk' policing

The former mayor’s reversal comes months after he defended the policing tactic in January as he publicly mulled a 2020 bid at the time. Bloomberg, who has recently filed paperwork to get on the Democratic primary ballots in two states, is now again considering jumping in the race, and his new comments could be viewed by potential voters as an attempt by the former mayor to abandon what is arguably one of the most controversial aspects of his tenure in the run-up to an official campaign announcement.

‘A decade late’

Jumaane Williams, the public advocate for the city of New York, slammed Bloomberg for his apology Sunday, saying that it comes “a decade late.”

“Forgive many of us for questioning apologies a decade late and on the eve of a presidential run. It is not nearly enough to erase the legacy of the systemic abuses of stop, question, and frisk on the people whose lives were harmed by over-policing, nor the communities criminalized by it,” Williams said in a statement.

Williams continued: “Stop and frisk was just one of many tactics pursued by the Bloomberg administration which had a detrimental impact on lower income New Yorkers and communities of more color.”

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The initiative grew out of the tough policies of Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor of New York.

“Stop and frisk” continued into Bloomberg’s administration, peaking at 203,500 stops during the first three months of 2012, before declining by about 95% by the end of his run as mayor at the end of 2013 – after the police department issued a memo announcing changes to its tactics.

More than 5 million “Stop and Frisk” stops were made during Bloomberg’s 12 years in office, with nearly 686,000 stops in 2011 being the high point during his overall tenure, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union. African American and Latinos accounted for more than 50% of the stops in 70 out of 76 New York precincts and more than 90% in 32 precincts, according to the ALCU’s report released in August 2014.

“Though they accounted for only 4.7 percent of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41 percent of stops between 2003 and 2013,” the ALCU said in the report. “Nearly 90 percent of young black and Latino men stopped were innocent.”

Under Bloomberg, however, New York City’s incarceration rate declined, according to data from the city.

During Bloomberg’s remarks Sunday morning, the three-term mayor told the congregation that “over time I’ve come to understand something that I’ve long struggled to admit to myself – I got something important wrong.”

“I didn’t understand that back then, the full impacts that (police) 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,” he said.

Asked about the tactic in January by an audience member at the United States Naval Academy’s 2019 Leadership Conference, Bloomberg offered a full-throated defense: “We focused on keeping kids from going through the correctional system … kids who walked around looking like they might have a gun, remove the gun from their pockets and stop it.”

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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg meets with local business owners and local activists after he toured the Paulson Electric Company on December 4, 2018 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Steve Pope/Getty Images Michael Bloomberg avoids talking 'stop and frisk' during MLK breakfast

He added that “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.”

2020 looms

A 2018 report from the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that works against mass incarceration, found that murder rates continued to fall after “stop and frisk” was phased out and called into question the pollicy’s effectiveness.

During remarks to civil rights leaders at the National Action Network in Washington earlier in January, Bloomberg didn’t mention “stop and frisk,” instead admitting to those gathered that he couldn’t “stand up here and tell you every decision I have made as mayor was perfect.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who said he spoke on the phone with Bloomberg following Sunday’s apology, welcomed the former mayor’s remarks but reminded him that “it will take more than one speech for people to forgive and forget a policy that so negatively impacted entire communities.”

Sharpton also expressed skepticism about the timing of Bloomberg’s apology, saying, “We will have to wait and see whether it was politically motivated.”

Earlier this month, Bloomberg’s team filed paperwork to get on the Democratic primary ballot in Alabama and Arkansas. His spokesman Howard Wolfson had previously said if Bloomberg decided to launch a 2020 bid he would not run in the first four contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. African American Democratic voters play a crucial role in both the primary and general elections in the Palmetto State.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio assailed Bloomberg’s decision to apologize for “stop and frisk” on the verge of a possible 2020 run, casting the decision in an interview with CNN as politically craven and referring to it as a “death bed conversion.”

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De Blasio, who dropped out of the 2020 race earlier this year, said that Bloomberg had six years since the end of his tenure to re-think his support for “stop and frisk” but instead was notably dismissive of anyone who said he had been wrong on the policy.

“He had almost six full years to say it was wrong … we have had plenty of inflection points where he could have said, ‘You know what, I was wrong,’” de Blasio said in a phone interview Sunday. “He has never cared to do that. And I think that says something about the veracity of this.”

CNN’s Raymond Arke, Donald Judd and Dan Merica contributed to this report.


What are Bloomberg's political views? ›

Bloomberg supports gun-control measures, abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He advocates for a public health insurance option that he has called "Medicare for all for people that are uncovered" rather than a universal single-payer healthcare system.

Did Bloomberg run for president? ›

In March 2019, Bloomberg originally announced that he would not run for president. However, on November 7, 2019, Bloomberg changed his mind and announced that he was taking steps to enter the 2020 United States presidential election, and on November 8 he officially filed for the Alabama Democratic presidential primary.

How much of Bloomberg does Michael Bloomberg own? ›

Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg Tower on Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan
Key peoplePeter Grauer (chairman) Michael Bloomberg (co-founder & CEO)
RevenueUS$10 billion (2019)
OwnerMichael Bloomberg (88%) Others (12%)
Number of employees20,000
8 more rows

Does Michael Bloomberg have children? ›

Is Bloomberg magazine liberal or conservative? ›

Bias RatingLean Left
TypeNews Media
OwnerBloomberg LP
5 more rows

Who is Bloomberg's target audience? ›

Aimed at global financial professionals, Bloomberg Markets publishes articles on the people and issues related to global financial markets. Bloomberg Markets, which is based in New York City, has readers in 147 countries. More than half of its readers live outside the U.S.

How much did Bloomberg give Biden? ›

Mike Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and onetime Democratic presidential candidate, has committed $100 million of his own money to help the party's nominee, Joe Biden, win the state of Florida. Bloomberg's investment is a potential game changer in Florida, a swing state with expensive media markets.

Why did Michael Bloomberg stop running for president? ›

"Three months ago, I entered the race for President to defeat Donald Trump," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump — because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult."

How much did Bloomberg spend on presidential bid? ›

Bloomberg poured more than $1 billion of his own money into his White House bid, which featured a national campaign operation with roughly 2,400 staff.

Who is the richest black person in America? ›

The richest Black American is Robert F. Smith, who founded Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software companies. Smith grew up in Denver and worked as a chemical engineer before earning his MBA. He started Vista Equity Partners in 2000, and it has posted annual returns of 30% every year.

Who is No 1 richest person in the world? ›

Who is the richest man in the world? As of August 1, 2023, the richest man in the world is Elon Musk, the CEO of electric car company Tesla; he's worth $241.3 billion. He moved into the number one spot in June, overtaking Bernard Arnault of France.

Who is the wealthiest person in the United States? ›

Who Is the Richest Person in America? The richest person in America is Elon Musk, with a net worth of $186.12 billion as of March 2023.

How does Bloomberg make money? ›

Bloomberg LP is a global media and financial data and analytics conglomerate. The company generates revenue from subscriptions and fees associated with Bloomberg terminals as well as a variety of other services including Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Business, focused on venture capital, brokerage, and more.

Does Bloomberg have a daughter? ›

Who owns Bloomberg media? ›

Is Bloomberg a good company? ›

Participants in a recent survey ranked Bloomberg as the leading company in giving its employees the most opportunity for personal and professional growth. This likely explains why the company was also ranked #2 on the same survey's list of companies with the happiest employees.

What are the political views of Trump? ›

Politics and policies during presidency

As president, Trump has pursued sizable income tax cuts, deregulation, increased military spending, rollbacks of federal health-care protections, and the appointment of conservative judges consistent with conservative (Republican Party) policies.

What are the US liberal views? ›

The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the separation of church and state, the right to due process, and equality under the law are widely accepted as a common foundation of liberalism.

What is Joe Biden's political views? ›

Over his career, Biden has generally been regarded as belonging to the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Biden has been described as center to center-left and has described himself as the latter.


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