Feb 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Steyer: Bloomberg's 2015 defense of stop-and-frisk is "extremely disturbing"

Tom Steyer. Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer on Tuesday condemned a 2015 audio recording of fellow billionaire Mike Bloomberg's defense of the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic used during his time as New York City mayor, calling the practice "extremely disturbing."

Driving the news: President Trump's campaign amplified the Bloomberg audio earlier on Tuesday. Trump tweeted and then deleted the recording, calling Bloomberg a "TOTAL RACIST."

What Steyer's saying:

“Mike Bloomberg’s remarks in the video are extremely disturbing. The racist stereotypes he uses have no place today, and anyone running for the presidential nomination should disavow them. We have a racist president in Donald Trump, and we must rise above that to unite our country. Mike needs to offer an explanation to voters, especially those in communities of color, who were victimized by 'stop and frisk' and continue to be victimized by racist policing tactics."

Bloomberg apologized for expanding the aggressive policing practices before formally jumping into the 2020 race, saying his focus was "on saving lives" at the time, but he claims he "didn't understand ... the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities."

Go deeper: Michael Bloomberg on the issues, in under 500 words

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Trump declares war on Bloomberg over stop-and-frisk

Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images; Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump's campaign seized Tuesday on 2015 audio of Mike Bloomberg defending the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic that was utilized by New York City during his mayoral tenure.

Why it matters: It's a significant and sustained attack by the Trump camp on a candidate that's gotten the president's attention — if his Twitter feed is any indication — and it comes as the former New York mayor has been gaining ground in national polls in a crowded Democratic field.

Sanders co-chair: Bloomberg should drop out over stop-and-frisk

Bloomberg campaigns in California, Feb. 3. Photo: Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Bernie Sanders' national campaign co-chair called on Michael Bloomberg to drop out of the presidential race Tuesday after newly surfaced audio from a 2015 speech he gave showed how the former New York mayor defended stop-and-frisk and advocated for putting "all the cops" in minority neighborhoods. 

What they're saying: "What has been exposed is the true nature of Mayor Bloomberg, so one apology just because you're running for president does not erase the damage that you have done," Nina Turner told Axios in the lobby of the DoubleTree hotel in Manchester. 

Mike Bloomberg endorsed by 3 Congressional Black Caucus members

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg delivers remarks during a campaign rally in Nashville on Wednesday. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg won the endorsements of Congressional Black Caucus members Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) on Wednesday.

Why it maters: The backing comes a day after 2015 audio resurfaced of the former New York City mayor defending the stop-and-frisk policing policy that mostly targeted black and Latino people before it was ruled unconstitutional in 2013. In the audio, he said "95% of your murderers — murderers and murder victims —  fit one M.O. ... They are male minorities, 16 to 25." Bloomberg apologized for his support of the tactic in November. He expressed his regret again Tuesday.

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