#BloombergIsRacist.” That’s the hashtag that’s trending on Twitter since audio of remarks made by 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg surfaced earlier this week.
In the clip from the 2015 Aspen Institute, Bloomberg is heard defending the New York City Police Department’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policies, saying, “Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murdered victims fit one MO. You can just take the description, xerox it and pass it out to all the cops.” He continues, “They are male minorities, 15 to 25. That’s true in New York. It’s true in virtually every city.”
Bloomberg issued a statement Tuesday saying, “I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk, and as part of our effort to stop gun violence it was overused. By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized.”
But Bloomberg didn’t just inherit stop-and-frisk. During his tenure, use of the practice increased sevenfold. At its height, there were nearly 700,000 stops in 2011 compared to around 100,000 in 2002. The vast majority of those stopped were black or Latino.
Bloomberg defended stop-and-frisk as recently as 2019, only apologizing for the practice publicly in November, shortly after entering the presidential race.
Democracy Now! speaks with the journalist who unearthed the 2015 audio of Bloomberg, Benjamin Dixon, the host of The Benjamin Dixon Show and podcast.
Dixon is the co-founder of the TheNorthStar.com, the revitalized abolitionist newspaper of Frederick Douglass.
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