Mike Bloomberg refused to directly apologize for his 2015 comments defending stop and frisk while stumping in Tennessee Wednesday.
“I don’t think those words reflect how I led the most diverse city in the nation. I [previously] apologized for the practice and the pain that it caused,” he said Wednesday when questioned by reporters after an event in Chattanooga.
“It was five years ago. And, you know, it’s just not the way that I think, and it doesn’t reflect what I do every day.”
During the 2015 Aspen Institute speech, Bloomberg said, “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.”
“They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible).”
Bloomberg — who apologized for stop-and-frisk last year, shortly before becoming a Democratic candidate for president — also said that “one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’”
“Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is,” he said at the time.
The billionaire media mogul tried to justify the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk — which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge — by claiming, “You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”
“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.”
The controversy over the release of the audio of Bloomberg’s Aspen remarks was the elephant in the room when the former three-term billionaire New York City mayor was introduced to speak by Dr. Elenora Woods, president of the city’s NAACP chapter. She defended Bloomberg as a fighter for economic an social justice.
“Look, I know what racism looks like. I know what it looks like, and that’s not Mike Bloomberg,” Woods said.
She also also said she’s “sick and tired” of Trump’s unfair attacks.
Bloomberg, during his speech, did not mention stop and frisk but vowed he won’t be bullied by Trump and touted his support of gun control.
Meanwhile the Bloomberg campaign sought to limit the damage wrought by the resurfacing of the Aspen audio by announcing the endorsements of three member of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Rep. Gregory Meeks, who is also chairman of the Queens Democratic Party.
Bloomberg was attacked for the Aspen remarks Tuesday by fellow billionaire and Democratic rival Tom Steyer as well as Nina Turner, a top surrogate for candidate Bernie Sanders, who said he should drop out of the race.
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