Billionaire Michael Bloomberg on Sunday walked back his longtime support for the controversial "stop and frisk" policing policy that disproportionately targeted black and Latino New Yorkers as he mulled jumping in the race for president. But the non-profit Center for Constitutional Rights conducted a study that found blacks and Latinos were nine times more likely than white people to be stopped in 2009.
"I was wrong, and I am sorry", Bloomberg said, according to multiple reports.
"But I can't change history, however today I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong and I'm sorry".
Bloomberg said during his a year ago in office stops fell by 94 percent and crime and continued to drop as it has under his successor, Mayor Bill de Blasio.
If Bloomberg runs, The New York Daily News is reporting that he plans to spend upwards of $100 million on anti-Trump advertising.
Some of the people we spoke to here say Mayor Bloomberg needs to do more than just apologize for the stop and frisk policy.
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Bloomberg, who has filed paperwork to enter the presidential primaries in Alabama and Arkansas, said that as he looked to the future, he also reflected on instances in the past where he "came up short". But as crime continued to come down as we reduced stops and as it continued to come down during the next administration to its credit, I now see that we could and should have acted sooner.
If Bloomberg does enter the race, he will be the fifth most-popular candidate, and his presence may draw more support away from former Vice President Joe Biden than others, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll found. "I wish we had and I'm sorry that we didn't", he told the congregation Sunday.
"I think that I have a record of being a bridge builder", he said on talk show "Meet the Press".
In January, he still argued that the policy he backed and expanded as mayor, helped reduce the murder rate in NY, although these claims were disputed by some NGOs like the Equal Justice Initiative fighting against mass incarceration. In a campaign-defining ad, his son Dante, who is biracial, made the case that de Blasio "would end the stop-and-frisk era that unfairly targets people of color".
Bloomberg, who was mayor between 2002 and 2013, said "far too many innocent people were being stopped" under the policy, and the "overwhelming majority of them were black and Latino". "And the erosion of the trust bothered me, deeply. And it still bothered me and I want to earn it back", Bloomberg said while addressing the crowd.