Michael Bloomberg Apologizes for Stop-and-Frisk: ‘I Was Wrong’
Ahead of a potential Democratic presidential run, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York reversed his longstanding support of the aggressive “stop-and-frisk” policing strategy that he pursued for a decade and that led to the disproportionate stopping of black and Latino people across the city.
“I was wrong,” Mr. Bloomberg declared. “And I am sorry.”
The speech, Mr. Bloomberg’s first since he re-emerged as a possible presidential candidate, was a remarkable concession by a 77-year-old billionaire not known for self-doubt: that a pillar of his 12-year mayoralty was a mistake that he now regrets.
Speaking before the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center, a black megachurch in Brooklyn, Mr. Bloomberg delivered his apology in the heart of one of the communities most affected by his policing policies and at a location that nodded to the fact that should he decide to run, African-American voters would be a crucial Democratic constituency that he would need to win over.
Until Sunday, Mr. Bloomberg had steadfastly — and his critics say stubbornly — defended stop-and-frisk, which gave New York police officers sweeping authority to stop and search anyone they suspected of a crime. Mr. Bloomberg stood behind the program even after a federal judge ruled in 2013 that it violated the constitutional rights of minorities and despite the fact that crime continued to drop even after the program was phased out in recent years.
And he announced plans to spend $100 million on digital ads against President Trump in key general election battleground states, blunting criticism that he could spend his money better elsewhere. Those ads would not feature him, advisers said, and the spending would be in addition to what he might spend on his own candidacy.
Mr. Bloomberg played coy about his plans from the pulpit. “I don’t know what the future holds for me,” he said.
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