Mike Bloomberg‘s racist and problematic history is still coming out. For New Yorkers, the incidents come as no surprise, but for folks bouncing around the idea of Bloomberg as president, it definitely doesn’t look good.
This week, audio from a racist speech Bloomberg gave five years ago resurfaced and it shed some light into his policies targeting Black and brown people. In the edited, minute-long clip from a speech Bloomberg gave to the Aspen Institute in 2015, Bloomberg defended “stop and frisk,” an unconstitutional policing tactic that disproportionately targeted Black and brown folks. Bloomberg is largely credited as the architect and primary enforcer of the tactic during his three terms as New York City’s mayor. In the clip, Bloomberg profiles murderers and murder victims as “minorities.”
“Ninety-five percent of murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O.,” he starts in the edited clip. “You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible). And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”
In the audio, Bloomberg went on to say that cities should spend the money to “put those cops where the crime is, which means minority neighborhoods.” He also defended arresting “minority” kids for marijuana. He further said, “The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”
The audio went viral at the most inopportune time for the presidential candidate considering a new Quinnipiac poll has Bloomberg trailing behind Joe Biden for Black voter support. The clip also started circulating just hours before the New Hampshire primary polls opened. Now that the cat is out of the bag, people on Twitter are now bringing up even more racist or problematic incidents concerning Bloomberg
Some people brought up that time Bloomberg wanted to fingerprint public housing residents back in 2013.
According to CBSNewYork, the then-mayor thought it would make the New York City projects safer.
“What we really should have is fingerprinting to get in, since there’s an allegation that some of the apartments aren’t occupied by the people who originally have the lease,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. Bloomberg’s idea immediately received backlash, especially from public housing residents.
“That’s like invading someone’s privacy or something. Why you want to fingerprint somebody? It is bad enough you get arrested, you get finger printed, so why you want to fingerprint us? Now Bloomberg needs to get a job. Get out of here already. He’s done. Bloomberg is done,” Chelsea Houses resident Nino Alayon said at the time.
Twitter also recalled an old clip where Bloomberg said, “we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
According to Newsweek, the clip is from a 2013 interview with WOR where Bloomberg was, once again, defending stop and frisk. “They just keep saying it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group. That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder,” the billionaire said at the time. “In that case incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
Bloomberg eventually apologized for stop and frisk before he started his presidential run. In light of this week’s backlash, he also released a statement, especially since people like Donald Trump were also tweeting Bloomberg’s speech and calling him a “TOTAL RACIST” (the irony).
“President Trump’s deleted tweet is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans,” Bloomberg started in his statement. “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 — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities.”
Bloomberg continued by citing policies he was proud to have backed as mayor of New York City. “I believe we need to end mass incarceration and during my tenure we reduced incarceration by 40% and juvenile confinement by more than 60%. We created the Young Men’s Initiative to help young men of color stay on track for success, which President Obama built on to create My Brother’s Keeper. And we overhauled a school system that had been neglecting and underfunding schools in Black and Latino communities for too long.”
Bloomberg ended by saying he’ll “do everything I can to defeat” Donald Trump.
It seems like he’ll have a long road ahead of him. Check out some more biting criticism of Bloomberg in the tweets below.