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'I was wrong, and I'm sorry:' Michael Bloomberg apologizes for stop-and-frisk policy

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 11/17/2019 Austin Fenner, Shant Shahrigian
Michael Bloomberg wearing a suit and tie © Stephanie Keith

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday apologized for not ending the controversial police practice known as stop-and-frisk sooner.

“I now see that we could and should have acted sooner, and acted faster, to cut the stops,” he said at a black megachurch in Brooklyn.

“I wish we had and I’m sorry that we didn’t but I can’t change history,” he continued. “However, today, I want you to know that I realize back then that I was wrong, and I’m sorry.”

The remarks came during Bloomberg’s first speech since he began taking steps to enter the Democratic presidential primary earlier this month.

By picking the Christian Cultural Center in East New York as the venue, he was zeroing in on a vital constituency.

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.

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On Sunday, the three-term mayor said his administration should have ended the practice earlier.

“The fact is, far too many people were being stopped while we tried to do [reduce crime] and the overwhelming majority of them were black and Latino,” Bloomberg said. “That may have included, I’m sorry to say, some of you here today.”

“Because of the number of stops of innocent people, because it had been so high, resentment had built up,” he added. “We eroded what we had worked so hard to build: trust. Trust between police and communities, trust between you and me.

“And the erosion of that trust bothered me deeply. And it still bothers me. And I want to earn it back.”

Bloomberg has filed paperwork to be in the Democratic primary in Arkansas and Alabama, part of a strategy in which he would ignore the first four states in the race if he ultimately decides to enter.

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