Democratic presidential candidate for US and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks into the camera at a campaign event.
(Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Audio of Michael Bloomberg’s Defense of Stop and Frisk Shows Exactly Who He Is

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg has been pretty successful so far in buying himself into the Democratic primary, but that doesn’t mean voters and political observers are prepared to forget how he championed the racist (and unconstitutional) practice of “stop and frisk” when he was mayor of New York City. This policy, to be clear, was always unconstitutional and was judged as such by New York Federal courts in 2013.

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Bloomberg’s stop and frisk policies have come back into the conversation thanks to audio resurfacing of remarks Bloomberg made at a conference in Aspen in 2015, where Bloomberg defended the policy, saying: “95 percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 15 to 25.”

That’s what we call racial profiling, Mike, and your reliance and defense of it after it was ended and was ruled unconstitutional is a big part of why many people are calling bullshit on your attempts to buy this election.

Bloomberg’s remarks didn’t just end there. He justified his policy of targeting minority neighborhoods with cops that were there specifically to violate the fourth amendment with more racially charged justifications and a complete lack of nuance and compassion:

People say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana who are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes that’s true. Why’d we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you should get the guns out of the kids’ hands is throw them against the wall and frisk them.

These remarks highlight exactly why Stop and Frisk was so controversial. It was based on racist assumptions and profiling and inevitably targeted minorities. Also, remember, this was 2015, a time when the Black Lives Matter movement was receiving massive national attention due to their protests of police violence against black Americans.

Of course, now that the remarks are getting new scrutiny, Bloomberg is making the usual apologies. In a statement to the press, he apologized and explained: “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. This issue and my comments about it do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity.”

Do we buy this? Or should we listen to the famous wisdom of Maya Angelou: “When people show you who they are, believe them?” Do we believe the public apologies of a man spending millions to be president or do we believe the candid statements a billionaire made to other elites (in freaking Aspen) where he defended a policy that had already, and I cannot stress this enough, been ruled unconstitutional and while black Americans were taking to the streets fighting for their very lives?

It’s positive, of course, that Bloomberg has apologized again, but it’s just not trustworthy. When he’s willing to spend hundreds of millions to get into the White House, of course he’ll say what he needs to when he’s called out. That’s being a politician. What’s more important is what he has done or is willing to do.

(via: NPR)

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Author
Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.