Nov 17, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Bloomberg apologizes for controversial "stop-and-frisk" policing practices

Mike Bloomberg.

Michael Bloomberg at a 2019 gala in New York City. Photo: Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg apologized at a black megachurch in Brooklyn on Sunday for implementing aggressive “stop-and-frisk” policing practices that disproportionately targeted black and Latino people across the city, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Bloomberg’s speech was his first since he filed paperwork to enter the 2020 presidential primary in Alabama, with the comments marking a surprising reversal on a core policy of the former mayor's tenure. Bloomberg in the past has strongly defended stop-and-frisk, which allowed police officers to stop and search anyone they suspected of a crime.

What they're saying:

“Over time, I’ve come to understand something that I long struggled to admit to myself: I got something important wrong. I got something important really wrong. I didn’t understand that back then, the full impact that 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."
— Bloomberg said in the speech

Between the lines: Analysts have long believed that Bloomberg's policing record could complicate a presidential bid, according to Politico. Bloomberg defended stop-and-frisk even after a federal judge found in 2013 that it was unconstitutional. The Times notes that crime has continued to drop even in the years after the practice was ended.

The big picture: With Bloomberg's 2020 decision "days" away, sources close to Bloomberg told Axios' Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei that his formal announcement is contingent on whether polling shows a convincing path to victory.

  • A Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll released Saturday has Bloomberg's "unfavorable" rating with likely 2020 Democratic caucusgoers at 58%, up 20 points since March. Just 19% of caucusgoers said they have a very "favorable" view of Bloomberg.

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