“The murder rate in New York City went from 650 a year to 300 a year when I left. Most police departments do the same thing, they just don’t report it or use the terminology.” -Michael Bloomberg- January 2019
Michael Bloomberg, the multi-billionaire former Mayor of New York City is considering running for President in 2020. Rumor has it he’s dissatisfied with the current batch of Democrat candidates and feels none of them have caught fire. The fact is, he can’t win without getting the black vote behind him which makes up a significant portion of the Democrat base. The chances black voters will overlook his role in implementing the Stop & Frisk Policy that targeted minority neighborhoods in his city are non-existent. Bloomberg tried to get ahead of the problem by going to a black church and making an apology.
Bloomberg followed the apologies to black people playbook and lined up his black supporters to cape for him. Former New York Governor David Paterson conveniently revealed that Bloomberg expressed his regret for the policy back in 2012 after learning searches had risen 800% over those conducted under the previous Mayor, Rudy Guiliani. This alleged regret was expressed before a judge ruled the policy illegal; setting Bloomberg off in his disapproval.
“This is a very dangerous decision made by a judge that I think just does not understand how policing works and what is compliant with the US Constitution as determined by the Supreme Court.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network; thanked Michael Bloomberg for his newfound contrition but highlighted that one apology won’t make up for the damage done by his policy.
“As one who helped lead countless demonstrations, marches, and rallies to amplify the racial impact that was had on the Black and Brown community from stop-and-frisk policing, I am glad to see Mr. Bloomberg now admit that the policy was wrong. It will take more than one speech for people to forgive and forget a policy that so negatively impacted entire communities.” — Al Sharpton
Other black voices were less forgiving and flat out rejected the Bloomberg apology.
“It is convenient that Bloomberg suddenly apologizes but has done nothing to undo the immense damage he has caused on countless lives. His apology is not accepted.” — DeRay McKesson
“Under Bloomberg, NYPD increased stop and frisk from 100,000 stops to nearly 700,000 stops per year. 90% of those impacted were people of color — overwhelmingly black and brown men. Bloomberg personally has the money to begin paying reparations for this harm. ‘Sorry’ isn’t enough.” — Samuel Sinyangwe
Not only did the apology have little immediate impact among black voters. White voters (many of whom never would have voted for Bloomberg anyway) were distraught the Bloomberg voiced his displeasure with a policy that suited them just fine. Former NYC Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik says Bloomberg has forgotten just how effective the policy was.
“I think it is the apology tour. When you run for president these days, that’s what you do. And that’s what he’s doing. I think it’s disturbing.” — Bernie Kerik
Outgoing NYC Police Commissioner James O’Neill defended the tactic after Michael Bloomberg repudiated its’ use:
“It helps us get weapons off the street, it helps keep the city safe. But it has to be used correctly, and obviously it has to be used constitutionally. It’s something that we still employ. We are concentrating on the people driving the crime. It’s a constitutionally-tested tool that has to be used, needs to be used.”
The National Review wrote:
“As Bloomberg fills in political potholes on the left-hand side of his road to the nomination, he should remember that his repairs may come at the expense of his reputation as that rare officeholder who did what he thought was right and defended the results.”
Truth be told, very few not on the Bloomberg payroll think this apology was sincere and credible. Even if he told Gov. Paterson his regrets privately seven years ago. He publicly defended the policy until last week. Those who flank him to give him believability are doing more to harm their own reputations than to help Bloomberg. Progressive Democrats don’t believe him and the Right will use the opportunity to attack him. Bloomberg would have had to address Stop & Frisk at some point in his proposed campaign. Whether there was a better way to address it may never be known but the consensus is; his apology didn’t do the job.