Bloomberg apologizes for ‘stop and frisk’ police practice
WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael Bloomberg on Sunday apologized for his longstanding support of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” police strategy ahead of a potential Democratic presidential run, a practice that he embraced as New York’s mayor and continued to defend despite its disproportionate impact on people of color.
Addressing a black church in Brooklyn, Bloomberg said he was “sorry” and acknowledged it often led to the detention of blacks and Latinos.
“I can’t change history,” Bloomberg told the congregation. “However today, I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong.”
Bloomberg’s reversal is notable for someone who is often reluctant to admit wrongdoing. It’s also a recognition that if he’s to compete for the Democratic presidential nomination, he’ll have to win support from black voters. And his record on stop-and-frisk is a glaring vulnerability that could hobble his potential candidacy if he doesn’t express contrition.
The apology, however, was received skeptically by many prominent activists who noted that it was made as he is taking steps to enter the race.
“It is convenient that Bloomberg suddenly apologizes but has done nothing to undo the immense damage he has caused on countless lives,” said activist DeRay Mckesson. “His apology is not accepted.”
Stop-and-frisk gave police wide authority to detain people they suspected of committing a crime, and Bloomberg aggressively pursued the tactic when he first took over as mayor in 2002.