Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has yet to formally announce whether he will run for president in 2020, but during remarks where he looked to the future before a majority-black church in Brooklyn, he apologized for his controversial "stop and frisk" policy that sowed distrust of police in black and Latino communities during his administration. "However, today I want you to know that I realise back then, I was wrong, and I'm sorry".
Bloomberg's previous defense of "stop-and-frisk" policing, which disproportionately targeted black and Latino men, is seen as one of his biggest political liabilities among Dems.
Appearing on MSNBC Sunday, NBC BLK reporter Janell Ross offered a more skeptical approach to Bloomberg's policy reversal, comparing his "moderate" disconnect to that of fellow Democratic candidate, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Michael Bloomberg prepares to speak at the Christian Cultural Center on November 17, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
CNBC detailed the tactic was enacted in 2002, the same year Bloomberg took over as mayor.
"I was wrong, and I'm sorry", the former mayor of the U.S. financial capital told a predominantly black megachurch in Brooklyn.
Trust between police and communities, trust between you and me.
"I'd like to see if those experiences and that aptitude and that skill set can be offered in service to our nation".
That policy, which was later repealed, allowed police to stop individuals on the street and briefly question and frisk them if they had reasonable suspicion that the person may be committing, had committed or is about to commit a crime.
"Bloomberg was unbelievable because he didn't have to apologize for anything because he does not need any of it".
The self-made billionaire who served 12 years as NY mayor had long defended stop and frisk as an effective police tactic that saved lives, even after a federal judge in 2013 found it violated the rights of ethnic minorities.
"I was not going to accept that - and I didn't", Bloomberg said.
"The fact is, far too many innocent people were being stopped while we tried to do that".
"I wish we had and I'm sorry that we didn't but I can't change history", he continued. Still, Bloomberg stood by the program throughout his time as mayor, and after. "For years so many of us said when he was mayor of New York City this is hurting people, this is creating division", de Blasio said. And it still bothers me.
Bloomberg told the congregation the policy eroded trust with the public and he aimed to earn back that trust, the Times reported.
"I think that's pretty important at a time when not just the party in some respects but the nation is deeply divided".