New York Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed predecessor Michael Bloomberg’s late apology for the stop-and-frisk policing program that targeted minorities, calling it “a death bed conversion” ahead of the 2020 election.
“People aren’t stupid,” de Blasio, who dropped his Democratic presidential bid in September, told CNN on Sunday. “They can figure out whether someone is honestly addressing an issue or whether they’re acting out of convenience.”
Hours before de Blasio’s cable news appearance, Bloomberg, a billionaire who said he’s seriously weighing a presidential run, delivered his mea culpa at a Black megachurch in Brooklyn.
“I got something important really wrong,” he said. “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.”
Bloomberg conceded that his administration should have “acted faster to cut the stops,” adding, “I was wrong and I am sorry.”
But de Blasio didn’t buy it, arguing that “to wait six whole years and only when it is a matter of need, I think that raises eyebrows.”
“This is a death bed conversion,” de Blasio said. “We all appealed to him for years to reconsider and I think it is a statement on him that he was very dismissive.”
The stop-and-frisk strategy allowed police to temporarily detain, question and search anyone they suspected of a crime, or anyone they believed may be about to commit a crime.
In 2009, several years into Bloomberg’s three-term tenure, Blacks and Latinos were nine times as likely to be stoped as whites, though they were no more likely to face arrest, The New York Times reported.
Bloomberg said in March that he wouldn’t launch a White House bid, in part because he didn’t want to go on an “apology tour” like former Vice President Joe Biden, who “went out and apologized for being male, over 50 [and] white.”