Warren Slams Bloomberg on 'Stop and Frisk'; The Apology Should Be for the 'Intent of the Plan'

By Susan Jones | February 20, 2020 | 5:54am EST
Sen. Elizabeth Warren lectures former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on his controversial "stop and frisk" plan. (Photo: Screen capture/NBC)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren lectures former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on his controversial "stop and frisk" plan. (Photo: Screen capture/NBC)

(CNSNews.com) - It's no surprise that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about his controversial "stop and frisk" plan at Wednesday night's Democrat debate. And he was slammed for it all over again.

Bloomberg has apologized for his policy and his derogatory comments, made in 2015, and he mentioned that -- but did not apologize again -- on Wednesday night.  

Bloomberg was then slammed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who told him he got his apology all wrong.

Bloomberg told a gathering in February 2015: "Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the 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...And that’s where the real crime is."

He added that the way to get guns off the street and away from (minority) kids “is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them."

"People say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana who are all minorities.' Yes, that's true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that's true. Why'd we do it? Because that's where all the crime is. And the way you should get the guns out of the kids' hands is throw them against the wall and frisk them."

Referring to Bloomberg's 2015 comments, debate moderator Lester Holt asked Bloomberg Wednesday night, "What does that kind of language say about how you view people of color or people in minority neighborhoods?"

"Well, if I go back and look at my time in office, the one thing that I'm really worried about, embarrassed about, was how it turned out with 'stop and frisk,'" Bloomberg said.

When I got into office, there was 650 murders a year in New York City. And I thought that my first responsibility was to give people the right to live. That's the basic right of everything.

And we started a -- we adopted a policy, which had been in place, the policy that all big police departments used of stop and frisk. What happened, however, was it got out of control. And when we discovered, I discovered, that we were doing many, many, too many stop and frisks, we cut 95 percent of it out.

Bloomberg noted that he's met with African-American leaders as well as people caught up in "stop and frisk" to try to learn from what happened. But he also noted that the policy got results:

"Because the crime rate did go from 650, 50 percent down, to 300. And we have to keep the lid on crime, but we cannot go out and stop people indiscriminately," Bloomberg said.

Here, former Vice President Joe Biden jumped in, saying, the reason "stop and frisk" changed is because President Barack Obama "sent moderators to see what was going on." (Biden meant "mediators.") Biden said Bloomberg's apology doesn't matter -- "the policy was abhorrent."

Bloomberg, invited to respond to Biden, said:

I've sat, I've apologized, I've asked for forgiveness. But the bottom line is that we stopped too many people, but the policy -- we stopped too many people and we've got to make sure that we do something about criminal justice in this country.

There is no great answer to a lot of these problems. And if we took off everybody that was wrong, off this panel, everybody that was wrong on criminal justice at some time in their careers, there would be nobody else up here.

A furious Sen. Elizabeth Warren jumped on that:

"I do think that this really is about leadership and accountability," Warren said:

When the mayor says that he apologized, listen very closely to the apology. The language he used is about stop and frisk. It's about how it turned out.

No, this isn't about how it turned out, this is about what it was designed to do to begin with. It targeted communities of color. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning.

And if you want to issue a real apology, then the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together and the willful ignorance, day by day by day, of admitting what was happening even as people protested in your own street, shutting out the sounds of people telling you how your own policy was breaking their lives.

You need a different apology here, Mr. Mayor.

Bloomberg, looking chastened, did not respond.


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