Speed Reads

2020 Campaign

Michael Bloomberg surprisingly apologizes for 'stop and frisk' policy as he mulls presidential run

In his first speech since he filed to enter the Alabama primary as a Democratic president candidate, billionaire Michael Bloomberg apologized for implementing a controversial "stop and frisk" policy during his tenure as New York City mayor, The New York Times reports.

Bloomberg was speaking at the Christian Cultural Center, a black megachurch in Brooklyn where his former adviser, the Rev. A.R. Bernard serves, as pastor. "I didn't understand back then the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities," he said from the pulpit. "I was totally focused on saving lives — but as we know: Good intentions aren't good enough."

The policy gave the New York Police Department the power to stop and question anyone they suspected of a crime, and its enforcement resulted in racial disparities. For example, the Times notes that of the 575,000 "stop and frisks" conducted in 2009, black and Latino people were nine times as likely to be questioned by police, even though they were no more likely to be arrested after being stopped.

Bloomberg had defended the policy until Sunday, which has led to speculation that the speech was an indication that he is indeed serious about jumping into the Democratic presidential primary.

Bloomberg filed to be on the ballot in Alabama, but has not officially entered the race.

After the speech, Bernard reportedly asked the crowd to show some enthusiasm for Bloomberg, though the Times reports that the applause was "tepid." Read more at The New York Times.