“The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them,” the presidential hopeful said in 2015.
Michael Bloomberg’s past keeps coming back to haunt him.
A newly discovered recording of the billionaire defending New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy following his time as mayor is pouring cold water on his efforts to win the Democratic nomination for president.
“Ninety-five percent of murders — murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” Bloomberg said in a speech to the Aspen Institute in 2015, according to Fox News.
“They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible). And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed,” the video shows him saying.
Bloomberg is also heard saying that minority neighbourhoods end up with more than their share of cops because that is where most of the crime is. “And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them… And then they start… ‘Oh, I don’t want to get caught.’ So they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.”
President Donald Trump was quick to seize on the opportunity, writing, “WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!” in a tweet that was soon taken down. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, carried on in his place, attempting to get “#BloombergIsARacist trending on the social media site.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Bloomberg said he inherited the stop-and-frisk policy from Rudy Giuliani, but cut it back by 95 per cent during his time in office. He acknowledged he should have acted more quickly, but said he has already “taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities.”
“But this issue and my comments about it do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity,” he said. “I believe we need to end mass incarceration and during my tenure, we reduced incarceration by 40 per cent and juvenile confinement by more than 60 per cent.”
Bloomberg, who has also taken heat for his evolving stance on marijuana legislation, offered an apology to the crowd at the Christian Cultural Center in the East New York neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
“Over time, I’ve come to understand something that I’ve long struggled to admit to myself. I got something important really wrong,” he said of the stop-and-frisk policy that he acknowledged had no effect on the city’s crime rate.
“Today, I want you to know that I realize that back then I was wrong. And I’m sorry,” he said.
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Written by David Yasvinski