At a black megachurch in Brooklyn on Sunday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized for “stop-and-frisk,” the centerpiece crime prevention policy of his long mayoral tenure that aggressively targeted Black and Latinx people across the five boroughs. “Stop-and-frisk” led to the stopping of 685,000 people by police at its height in 2011, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
“I was wrong. And I am sorry,” Bloomberg said at the Christian Cultural Center, according to The New York Times.
In 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights published data that showed Black and Latinx people were nine times more likely than white people to be stopped as a part of “stop-and-frisk.”
Bloomberg also said, “I now see that we should have acted sooner and acted faster.”
The former mayor was defending the policy earlier this year, despite the data that crime had dropped in New York City. Bloomberg is weighing a run for president in the already crowded presidential field, so it follows that he is attempting to get ahead of his longtime support of the policy.
New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams had an opinion about the timing of Bloomberg’s apology. “Forgive many of us for questioning apologies a decade late and on the eve of a presidential run,” Williams told the Times. “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.”
Apparently after he left the church, Bloomberg called Rev. Al Sharpton from the car for his opinion about the speech. “You can’t expect people like us to forgive and forget after one speech,” Sharpton told the former mayor, the Times reported.
Even the police union was skeptical of the apology. “Mayor Bloomberg could have saved himself this apology if he had just listened to the police officers on the street,” Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch told the New York Post. “We said in the early 2000s that the quota-driven emphasis on street stops was polluting the relationship between cops and our communities.
Bill de Blasio, who succeeded Bloomberg in 2014, called it “transparent and cynical” to apologize now. “With all due respect to my predecessor, we’ve spent six years undoing the damage he created with this bankrupt policy. We ended stop and frisk AND drove down crime,” de Blasio tweeted on Sunday.