‘I was wrong, and I’m sorry:’ Michael Bloomberg apologizes for stop-and-frisk policy – New York Daily News,

‘I was wrong, and I’m sorry:’ Michael Bloomberg apologizes for stop-and-frisk policy – New York Daily News,

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday apologized for his handling of stop-and-frisk – the police practice that disproportionately targeted black and Latino people – in a stark reversal of his longtime views as he considers running for president.

“I now see that we could and should have acted sooner, and acted faster, to cut the stops,” he said at a black megachurch in Brooklyn.

“I wish we had and I’m sorry that we didn’t but I can’t change history,” he continued. “However, today I want you to know that I realize back then that I was wrong and I’m sorry.”

The remarks came during Bloomberg’s first speech since he began taking steps to enter the Democratic presidential primary earlier this month.

By picking the Christian Cultural Center in East New York as the venue, he was zeroing in on a vital constituency.

Bloomberg’s previous defense of “stop-and-frisk” policing is seen as one of his biggest political liabilities among Dems. He’sfiled paperworkto be in the Democratic primary in Arkansas and Alabama, part of a strategy in which he would ignore the first four states in the race if he ultimately decides to enter.

Stop-and-frisk, in which officers are empowered to search people if they are suspected of illegal activity carrying a weapon, reached a peak of 685, 000 cases in 2011, during Bloomberg’s third and final term. Black and Latino New Yorkers comprised 54% and 34% of stops that year, respectively,according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.

In 2013, a judge ruled the practice had been applied in an unconstitutional way and a federal monitor was appointed to oversee reforms. While Bloomberg railed at the decision at the time, the NYPD began reducing use of stop-and-frisk, an effort championed by Mayor de Blasio when he took office in (************************.

Bloomberg defended the practice for years after he left office, making Sunday’s apology all the more striking.

“The fact is , far too many people were being stopped while we tried to do [reduce crime] and the overwhelming majority of them were black an Latino, ”Bloomberg told congregants Sunday.

“Because of the number of stops of innocent people, because it had been so high, resentment had built up,” he continued. “We eroded what we had worked so hard to build: trust. Trust between police and communities, trust between you and me.

“And the erosion of that trust bothered me deeply. And it still bothers me. And I want to earn it back. ”

Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed Bloomberg’s apology.

“Whatever his motive is, I’m glad that he’s taking this stand, ”Sharpton told the Daily News Sunday. “I think it is an important stance for a man who was a symbol of big-city stop-and-frisk.”

Sharpton, who’s yet to make an endorsement in the presidential race, noted former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders have also come under criticism for their past stances on policing communities of color.

“We’ve got to judge all of them on their past record,” Sharpton said. “They’re going to have to earn that respect, have to earn that forgiveness. I don’t think it will happen with one speech. ”

The head of the city’s largest police union dismissed the apology as “too little, too late.”

“ Mayor Bloomberg could have saved himself this apology if he had just listened to the police officers on the street. We said in the early 2000 s that the quota-driven emphasis on street stops was polluting the relationship between cops and our communities, “Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said in a statement.” His administration’s misguided policy inspired an anti-police movement that has made cops the target of hatred and violence, and stripped away many of the tools we had used to keep New Yorkers safe. ”

About 7, 101 people were stopped by police in the first six months of 2019, according to the NYCLU. That’s a 40% increase from the 5, 064 people stopped in the first half of 2018. About 60% of those stopped int eh first half of 2019 were black and 30% Latino.

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