“I was wrong,” he said at the Christian Cultural Center, a black megachurch in Brooklyn, according to the Times. “And I am sorry.”
Bloomberg said his support of the policy caused an “erosion of trust” and added that he hoped he could “earn it back.” The former mayor maintained he was focused on “saving lives,” and didn’t realize the impacts of the policing method on black and Latino communities, according to the Times.
“I got something important really wrong. I didn’t understand back then the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities. I was totally focused on saving lives — but as we know: good intentions aren’t good enough,” he added, the newspaper noted.
Bloomberg had consistently defended the policing strategy, which allowed New York officers to stop and search anyone they suspected of committing a crime. Black and Latino people were nine times as likely as white people to be stopped by police, although no more likely to be arrested, the Times reported in May 2010.
Some critics, like civil rights activist Shaun King, saw Bloomberg’s apology on Sunday as insincere and a strategy to gain the support of black and Latino communities ahead of a possible run.
After years of running the Apartheid-like policy of stopping and frisking millions of people of color throughout New York City, and then defending it every day in office, then every day he was out of office up until this week, @MikeBloomberg now admits he was wrong.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) November 17, 2019
The billionaire businessman has so far filed for the presidential primaries in Arkansas and Alabama as he mulls entering the race.